Score another shot for “old media.” ESPN’s Kendrick Perkins in a recent Twitter Spaces conversation co-hosted with his colleague Richard Jefferson came for the Memphis Grizzlies. Apparently Big Perk doesn’t like Ja Morant and the Grizzlies’ tone and swag as they approach the game of basketball. Is Perkins being an old head hater?
“Here’s my advice to the Memphis Grizzlies,” Perkins said. “I love Ja, I love everything about their team. I’m gonna say that again. But, y’all are not gangsters. Y’all are not hood. Y’all are professional basketball players that are really really good. Matter fact, y’all the best in the world. Leave the hood stuff and hood sh-t where it’s at.”
Kendrick Perkins tells Ja Morant and the Memphis Grizzlies that they are "not gangsters, not hood" 👀👀 pic.twitter.com/82SH9QjUjG
— Robert 💔💔 (@RobertRaymond46) June 28, 2022
The Grizzlies had a tremendous season, finishing with the second-best record in the league and advancing to the conference semifinals, where they lost to the eventual champion Golden State Warriors in six games.
All season long the Grizzlies were loud, brash and confident as they stormed through the league. After a game against the New York Knicks in February, Morant made it clear that the Grizzlies were here and were going to let people know it.
“There ain’t no running in the M, man. We climb up the chimney. We ain’t ducking no smoke,” Morant said postgame. “We’re gonna let everybody know we’re here. We’re gonna play hard, we’re trying to get a win and if you don’t like it? Oh well.”
Ja Morant had an epic quote about trash talking tonight:
“There ain't no running in the M, man. We climb up the chimney. We ain't ducking no smoke. We're gonna let everybody know we're here. We're gonna play hard, we're trying to get a win and if you don't like it? Oh well.”
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) February 3, 2022
This is who the Grizzlies and Morant are. They aren’t going to switch it up now. They are the second-youngest team in the league and their future looks bright. With youth comes hubris and bravado, especially in the NBA. They’re going to continue to talk, use rap lyrics, and they are here for all the smoke.
Perkins is 37 but sometimes it seems like he’s 77 with some of his commentary. He needs to remember how his mindset coming out of high school straight to the pros. This is the most competitive basketball league in the world. Whatever you have to do to get yourself prepared to go at the best competition in the world, you do it.
Perk needs to stop hating on the young kids.
The upcoming season will be an interesting one for the Grizzlies. Last season they surprised people coming out of nowhere. This coming season there will be expectations. How will the young Grizzlies handle being circled on everyone’s calendar?
They backed up their trash talk last season. What happens if they struggle to start the season?
The entire Grizzlies organization seems to embody the spirit of Morant, their best player. He’s famous for referring to the work he does “in the dark” when nobody is around to prepare himself to be the best possible player. Team general manager Zach Kleiman echoed that sentiment when recently asked about the draft.
“The draft process is an interesting one,” the 2022 NBA Executive of the Year said. “We are, in many cases, protective of how we try to operate. We do things in the dark, as Ja might say. We have our way of doing things and we would rather kind of try to show our work at the end of the day rather than just be overtly talking about everything that we might be up to.”
With a core of Morant, defensive ace Jaren Jackson Jr., and the sharpshooting Desmond Bane, the Grizzlies should be good, assuming good health, for a long time to come. That means they’re going to continue talking and being “gangsters” and “hood” whether Perk likes it or not.