Former NBA center Kendrick Perkins has not backed down from his remarkable Twitter feud with forward Kevin Durant, which blew up on Thursday when Perkins began by praising Russell Westbrook, tweeting that, “Russell Westbrook is the best player to have ever put on a Oklahoma City Thunder Jersey!!! He is MR. THUNDER!!!”
When Perkins tweeted that the Thunder did not get out of the second round of the playoffs when Westbrook was injured and Durant was healthy, Durant responded by saying, “Yea and our starting center @KendrickPerkins averaged a whopping 2 and 3 during that series. U played hard tho champ lol.”
That set off the Durant vs. Perkins battle that captivated NBA Twitter throughout Thursday, even as Westbrook returned to Oklahoma City for the first time since he was traded this summer.
For Perkins, the fact that Durant was set off by his praise of Westbrook is an indication that Durant is not completely stable.
“He needs help,” Perkins told the Scal and Pals radio show, with Brian Scalabrine (Perkins’ former teammate with the Celtics), on Radio.com. “That’s what he needs, he needs help. Because the guy is not in his right mind, bro. Just think about it, you a guy who has worked and is worth over $300 million or $400 million. Who cares? You the back-to-back Finals MVP. Who cares?”
Perkins called Durant, “the most sensitive guy in the world,” and noted that other star players get more criticism than Durant but don’t spend their time firing off defensive tweets.
“Like, you don’t see LeBron James arguing with people on Twitter,” Perkins said. “And they talk about LeBron James every day. You don’t see Anthony Davis arguing with people on Twitter, you don’t see nothing—you don’t even see Russell Westbrook or James Harden arguing with people on Twitter. But guess who you do see? You see Kevin Durant. It seems like a lack of insecurity (sic) there.”
Perkins Critical of Durant for Leaving OKC
Perkins was teammates with Durant in Oklahoma City from February 2011 until February 2015 and said he, “helped raise” Durant, who was 22 when Perkins arrived. The team made two trips to the conference finals and one trip to the NBA Finals during his four years with the Thunder.
Perkins was praised during that time for the toughness he brought to the team, though he did not produce big numbers. He was asked on Friday morning how he felt about doing little things to help Durant be successful in his time with the Thunder.
“I have zero regrets,” Perkins said. “Because at the end of the day, people can say what they want but until I got to Oklahoma City, they never had been out of the first round. They couldn’t get past the Lakers, they couldn’t get past the Twin Towers, Pau Gasol, and Andrew Bynum. But guess who helped them get past them? Big Perk did.”
Perkins then repeated his criticism of Durant, pointing out that he and the Thunder had the Warriors on the brink of elimination in the 2016 Western Conference finals and blew the series. Rather than stick with the Thunder, Durant teamed up with Golden State, which had won 73 games that season.
“I don’t have a filter,” Perkins said. “So what I do, is I strike back. Boy, stop playing with me. You did the weakest move in NBA history, up 3-1 in the Western Conference finals and then you go join them the following season. Yeah, that is the heart of a champion right there.”
Perkins Says Durant Asked Him to Lie in Stephen A. Smith Feud
Durant has had a history of oversensitivity on Twitter. In 2017, he was shown to have used a burner account to defend himself on the social media platform. Last year, Durant said he created the accounts because, “I wasn’t used to that amount of attention, you know, from playing basketball.”
He also had a longstanding friendship with Perkins that broke down, apparently, once Perkins retired from the NBA and begin making media appearances, first for Fox Sports and, beginning with the start of this season, for ESPN.
Durant has taken frequent criticism from ESPN personality Stephen A. Smith and apparently tried to recruit Perkins to defend him on the air.
“I’m not going to go into details about a certain situation but he wanted me to lie,” Perkins said, “and go against Stephen A. Smith about something that Stephen A. Smith was telling the truth about. And I didn’t do it. I didn’t throw him under the bus but I wasn’t about to go up there and sabotage my character and make myself look bad.”
From there, Perkins said, Durant reacted harshly: “After that, he was like, ‘Dog, aw man, you ain’t real.’ … You just asking me to do something, asking me to go on here to basically lie and debate with Stephen A. Smith and all of the sudden I get killed by Stephen A. Smith and he brings up facts—KD, are you going to pay my light bill? Are you going to put food in my children’s mouth? I’m doing a job now, bro. I’m not going to kill you but at the end of the day you can’t expect me to go on the air and lie for you.”
For now, at least, the Perkins-Durant beef has simmered. But the relationship remains fractured so stay tuned to their Twitter accounts.