Kendrick Perkins played against LeBron James several times but the most memorable ones were when he faced him in the NBA finals and in the Eastern Conference finals. James has a 16-10 advantage in career head-to-head matchups in the regular season but surprisingly, Perkins tied him in the postseason with 9 wins, thanks to his more talented teammates. He talked about The King in JJ Redick’s podcast and marveled at James’ longevity and greatness.
Perkins once prayed LeBron James gets injured
Kendrick Perkins admitted he got so scared facing LeBron James in the NBA Finals that he prayed something bad happened to James in practice, making him unavailable for the next game.
“We played the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008 and it was Game 7. I ain’t gonna lie. I was scared as hell going into that Game 7 against LeBron James. This was the only time I prayed that something happened to him in practice. I was like let us get breaking news that LeBron has torn ACL or something.”
JJ Redick couldn’t believe what Perk confessed. But it’s the kind of fear James has instilled in his opponents especially when he was younger. It was wrong for him to wish that LeBron gets injured but that’s the only way to stop James from dominating them. Fortunately, the Celtics won Game 7, saving Kendrick from suffering from more war flashbacks with James.
LeBron’s longevity and greatness
Now serving as a sports analyst for ESPN, Perkins couldn’t help but marvel at the L.A. Lakers star’s longevity.
"I'm in my....like..second career. He averaged 30 this year. We are the same age. I will be eligible for my pension in 7 years."
It’s been almost four years since Perkins retired and he still marvels at how James delivers dominant numbers like he’s still at his peak. The King averaged 30 points at 37 years old. If he didn’t get injured, he would have been in the MVP discussion for sure and that’s a testament to his greatness. James has been doing this for a long time and fans tend to forget how difficult it is to be consistent every year.
Kendrick Perkins saw LeBron James’ greatness as a rival and then as a teammate and now as an analyst. This is proof that James lives rent-free in Perkins’ mind and who knows how many veterans and retired players suffer from the same effect.