Home » Is there racial bias in the NBA MVP race?

Is there racial bias in the NBA MVP race?

by The Grio

Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets plays the Atlanta Hawks in the third quarter at Ball Arena on February 4, 2023 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Editor’s note: The following article is an op-ed, and the views expressed are the author’s own. Read more opinions on theGrio.

So there was this big argument on ESPN about basketball and race which led to a big argument on Twitter, which led to me bringing it here to you. I love when sports and race intertwine. 

Kendrick Perkins and J.J. Redick, two former NBA players, were on ESPN recently arguing about the NBA MVP race. Perkins, a brother, suggested that there’s racial bias in the voting for NBA MVP. This arose partly because a white man named Nikola Jokic is expected to win his third straight NBA MVP. If he does win, Jokic, from the Denver Nuggets, who has zero NBA championships, will have done something that no Black NBA player has done in over 50 years. Neither Michael Jordan nor LeBron James nor Kobe Bryant nor Kareem Abdul-Jabbar ever won three MVPs in a row. The only other player to have won three in a row in the last 50 years is Larry Bird. (For any Zoomers who might be reading this, Bird is white.) All of this has some Black basketball people a little upset. 

That day on ESPN, Redick, who’s white, got very upset and said to Perkins, if he’s going to call MVP voters racist, he’d better have evidence. Perkins didn’t know how to respond to that but I do: If there’s zero racial bias in the NBA MVP voting, then that would be pretty much the only place in America where there’s no racial bias.

I’ve talked to Redick on Twitter before, and I think he would come across as an ally most of the time. I looked at his side of the argument as an example of how people who seem like allies can, sometimes, say things that aren’t anti-racist. Right-wing folks loved Redick’s position. Arguing that racism can’t…

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