Kendrick Perkins Ignites Fiery Clash with Stephen A. Smith

Perkins passionately defends Brunson's overlooked NBA stardom.

by Nouman Rasool
Kendrick Perkins Ignites Fiery Clash with Stephen A. Smith
© Cindy Ord/Getty Images

In a recent fiery exchange on NBA Today, renowned ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith found himself at the center of a heated debate with Kendrick Perkins, a former NBA player and current analyst. The topic? The overlooked achievements of New York Knicks' star Jalen Brunson and the role of media and fan appreciation in recognizing basketball talents.

Brunson, the Knicks' point guard, has been instrumental in transforming the team into a strong contender for the Eastern Conference Finals. Despite his exceptional performance this season, Brunson was noticeably absent from the list of starters for the NBA All-Star Game, a snub that has sparked widespread discussion.

Smith, known for his candid opinions, expressed his views on this matter during the show. "Jalen Brunson is undeniably a star and his contributions are immense. However," Smith explained to Perkins, "the collective decision by fans, media, and players to favor [Indiana Pacers’ PG Tyrese] Haliburton over Brunson has its reasons."

Perkins Rebukes Smith

Perkins, challenging Smith's stance, argued that Brunson has already established himself as a top-tier player, akin to a 1A superstar.

He criticized Smith for not fully recognizing Brunson's caliber, suggesting that such attitudes contribute to the underappreciation of Brunson's talent. "You are part of the problem," Perkins asserted, emphasizing the need for greater promotion and recognition of Brunson’s achievements.

The Knicks, a team long yearning for a resurgence in the NBA landscape, finally find themselves in a promising position, thanks largely to Brunson's efforts. Yet, the fanfare and media attention that one would expect for such a turnaround and for a player of Brunson’s caliber seem muted.

Even as a professed Knicks fan, Smith appears reconciled with Brunson's ranking in the All-Star fan voting, where he finished fifth among Eastern Conference guards. For decades, Knicks supporters have eagerly anticipated the arrival of a superstar to revitalize their beloved team.

With Brunson, they may have unexpectedly found their hero. His journey from an underrated player to an elite guard is a narrative yet to be fully embraced by the fans and media alike. As the NFL season draws to a close, and the spotlight returns to the NBA, it remains to be seen whether the recognition for Brunson's prowess will finally align with his on-court brilliance.

Stephen A. Smith