OAKLAND, Calif. – Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins has seen the replays of Blake Griffin dunking on him. He's also read all the Twitter buzz about what is being called one of the greatest slams in NBA history.
But if Griffin challenges him again, Perkins doesn't plan to run for cover.
"If I was in the same position, in the same rotation, I'm going to jump again and again and again," Perkins told Yahoo! Sports. "I don't care. A lot of people are afraid of humiliation or don't know how to handle embarrassment or would even get embarrassed. I don't care.
"I'm the same Perk you're going to see. I'm still going to sign autographs the same way. I ain't going to change. The people that move out the way and stuff are the people who have insecurity problems.
"That's my job. How will my teammates look at me if next time I just back out the way and just let him dunk when I'm supposed to be defensive-minded, a shot-blocker? That would be a coward move on me. He'd just have to dunk on me again."
Perkins respected Griffin for not making a spectacle of the dunk afterward or gloating about it. But he wasn't too appreciative of LeBron James tweeting praise to Griffin.
Several NBA players commented about the dunk on Twitter and in media interviews, but the only one that bothered Perkins was James.
Shortly after the dunk, James tweeted, "Dunk of the Year! @blakegriffin just dunked on Kendrick Perkins so hard!!! Wow! I guess I'm No. 2 now. Move over #6." James was referring to his alley-oop dunk he threw down after jumping over Chicago Bulls guard John Lucas III a day earlier.
"You don't see Kobe [Bryant] tweeting," Perkins said. "You don't see Michael Jordan tweeting. If you're an elite player, plays like that don't excite you. At the end of the day, the guys who are playing for the right reasons who are trying to win championships are not worrying about one play.
"They also are not tweeting about themselves talking about going down to No. 2. I just feel [James] is always looking for attention and he wants the world to like him."
Even Perkins admits Griffin's dunk was "nice; a nice finish." He also remembers the advice his former Boston Celtics teammate, Kevin Garnett, once gave him: To be an effective post defender, you have to risk getting dunked on.
"It's part of the game," Perkins said. "If you are a shot-blocker, you don't pick and choose when you are going to jump with somebody or when you are going to rotate.
"You're not going to lose no friends about it. You might get talked about. But who cares at the end of the day."
Thunder coach Scott Brooks was playing for the Houston Rockets when Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson threw down his famous dunk over Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon. Brooks loved that Olajuwon was never afraid to challenge a shot – and he sees some of the same qualities in Perkins.
"There are sorry defenders, the guys that don't want to defend or the guys that run away because they don't want to put themselves in position like that," Brooks said. "Perk is not going to run. If it happens again, hopefully it will be a different result. But he is going to put himself in that position again.
"That's what he is about."
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