Kendrick Perkins

Born: November 10, 1984    Beaumont, Texas

Kendrick Perkins was born in Nederland, Texas. His father, Kenneth Perkins, played for Lamar University's basketball team between 1981-85 and is a member of the university's Cardinal Hall of Fame.  Kendrick's mother, Ercell Minix, was tragically shot and killed while working when he was five years old. During his father's professional basketball career in New Zealand, Kendrick was raised by his grandparents in Beaumont, Texas, where he attended Catholic Church and was an altar boy.

He graduated from Clifton J. Ozen high school in Beaumont, Texas, in 2003, where he averaged 27.5 points, 16.4 rebounds, and 7.8 blocks as a Senior. He led Ozen to four consecutive district championships plus one state title.

Coming out of high school, Kendrick was ranked as No. 3 center and No. 6 high school player in the class of 2003 by Rivals.com.

At 6'10" Perkins was deemed physically imposing and skilled enough to play professionally and was drafted with the 27th pick in the first round, and traded to the Boston Celtics.  At 300 pounds, he spent his first season with the Celtics getting into shape.

 

He started at center in 2008, and the Celtics won the NBA championship that year, defeating the Los Angeles Lakers in six games. In the 2010 NBA finals, Boston carried a 3-2 lead back to Los Angeles for Games 6 and 7 against the Lakers. Just under seven minutes into Game 6, Perkins fell to the floor after battling for a rebound, tearing his ACL. Many experts point to that moment as the difference in the Celtics loss to the Lakers.  His 2010-2011 season was spent in rehab from the ACL injury.  

 

In 2011, Kendrick was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder, and signed a contract for 35 million dollars, playing with their all-star tandem of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and James Hardin.  Now an experienced veteran player, Perkins was an immediate leader, showing the younger players what it took to win in the playoffs. In his first season with the Thunder, they met the Lebron James and the Miami heat in the NBA finals, and were defeated in 5 games.

 

From February 2015-2018 Perkins played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, the New Orleans Pelicans, and then again for the Cavaliers. In his fourteenth season, Perkins took a leadership position, crediting Lebron James with allowing him to do so. The Cavaliers made it to both the 2016 and 2018 NBA Finals, but lost to the Golden State Warriors in each series.

During Perkins's career, he embraced his role as the enforcer, a physically intimidating player who would send a message with a hard foul and was not afraid to get into an opponent's face. His teammates also told a different story.  Kendrick was known as the consummate teammate. Someone who lent strength and support to his fellow players. He was particularly helpful with young rookies trying to find their way. He would buy them clothes or lend them his car if the need arose.  Kevin Durant broke down when giving his acceptance speech for Most Valuable Player when his prepared remarks mentioned Kendrick Perkins. Perkins had told him multiple times that year that he was the MVP of the league, and he had to play like it.

During his 14 year career, Perkins averaged 5.4 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game. He is widely considered to be one of the most outstanding teammates in modern NBA history.  His defensive play during the championship runs of all the teams he played for is considered an integral part of their success.  He helped his teams get to the finals five times with three different teams.  Perkins observes, "I got a chance to play with a lot of future Hall of Famers, and I don’t take that for granted."  After basketball, Perkins became an on-air sports commentator and analyst for ESPN and Fox Sports. Kendrick Perkins was inducted into the Museum of the Gulf Coast, Sports Hall of Fame in December of 2018.

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