Perkins On Kyrie: "I Don't Understand Him"

Kendrick Perkins explains what it was like playing with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant

Zach Gelb
May 14, 2020 - 8:59 am
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Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are two of the most talented, albeit enigmatic, players in the NBA. Well, Kendrick Perkins played with both of them. He played with Durant in Oklahoma City from 2011 to 2015, and he played with Irving in Cleveland in 2015.

Perkins reflected on those experiences Wednesday on CBS Sports Radio.

“Well, Kyrie was always a loner,” Perkins said on The Zach Gelb Show. “He was a guy that was always to himself. The Kyrie I knew in Cleveland was very quiet, under-the-radar. This Kyrie right here, I don’t really know too well. To be honest, I don’t understand him either outside of basketball. One thing I know is he’s a talented individual, and he can play the game of basketball. Outside of that, I don’t understand anything about him. I don’t understand his interviews. The MLK Day speech he gave took the cake for me.”

In January, Irving compared himself to Martin Luther King Jr., implying that he – Irving – continues to be criticized despite doing “great things.”

“That’s just him. No one can understand him,” Perkins said. “But I’ll tell you what: He better be careful what he asks for because going and playing back in that Boston Garden is not going to be an easy task. Those fans are going to be waiting on him, and those players are going to be waiting on him. I’m sure Brad Stevens is going to have a hell of a scheme for Kyrie Irving.”

Irving, 28, wasn’t happy in Cleveland and was traded to Boston. Then he wasn’t happy in Boston. Then he handpicked the Brooklyn Nets. Unfortunately for Irving, he still doesn’t seem happy. 

What would make him happy?

“Well, we don’t know,” Perkins said. “That’s the question mark. We don’t know what can make Kyrie happy, just like we don’t know what makes Kevin Durant happy. All we know is that they’re a helluva basketball players. At the end of the day, I don’t know what’s going to bring that happiness to him. I don’t know what they’re searching for. They’re superstars in this league. What else do they want? They’re champions, they’re top talents, they got big endorsements deals, a lot of money – I don’t know what else they’re searching for. Your guess is as good as mine. I do not know.”

Gelb jokingly asked how many burner accounts Durant has these days. He probably has even more during the pandemic, no?

“Probably 13,” Perkins said, laughing.