Kendrick Perkins, who won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics, pushed back on LeBron James’ claim the team’s fans were “racist as f—.”
The Los Angeles Lakers superstar made his remarks during an episode of HBO’s “The Shop.” However, the statement did not exactly resonate with Perkins, who played for the Celtics from 2003 to 2011. Perkins explained Monday on ESPN’s “First Take” he has heard stories about Celtics fans from Marcus Smart, Bill Russell and others.
“But here’s what I want to say, there’s racism everywhere. And I would say this to a lot of people, I spent eight and a half years there and maybe because I was on the Celtics, I didn’t experience racism. And I think people who live in Boston and people who move to Boston … and you get a chance to get there, you would see there’s all different types of coaches and everything,” said Perkins, who is now an NBA analyst for ESPN.
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“Now, I will say this. The fans in Boston do cross the line and hit below the belt when it comes down to being disrespectful, and I could say throwing stuff at players like LeBron talking about he had a beer thrown, we saw a water bottle get chucked at Kyrie Irving, we heard fans chant certain types of things when it came down to Kyrie Irving. Even when we was playing against the Cavaliers when LeBron James was dropping those 40 pieces on us, we seen posters in the stands that were very disrespectful. You start getting out of bounds when you start talking about people’s loved ones.
“So, I never dealt with racism, but I hear from so many other players about Boston being racist and things to that nature, but there’s racism everywhere. I will say, the fans are too damn disrespectful when it comes to opposing teams coming to Boston.”
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James made the comment when talking about his least favorite cities to play in. James’ business partner Maverick Carter mentioned during the conversation there were places where fans “can literally take the game from you.” James mentioned Boston was one of those places.
The show’s co-creator Paul Rivera asked James why he hated Boston.
“Because they racist as f—, that’s why,” he said. “They will say anything, and it’s fine. I mean, f—, it’s my wife, she’s been dealing with them her whole life. I don’t mind it. I hear it, if I hear someone close by, I check them real quick. I move onto the game, whatever the f—. They going to say whatever the f— they want to say. They might throw something. I got a beer thrown on me leaving a game.”
Carter said Boston was the only place in the NBA where they have T-shirts saying “F— LeBron.”
James added: “Yeah, it’s like a ‘F— LBJ’ T-shirt. I believe they probably sold it at the f—ing team shop.”
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James and Carter are both investors of the Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, Liverpool FC, the Pittsburgh Penguins and RFK Racing.