Zach Randolph on whether he’d take Kendrick Perkins in a fight: ‘I’m good with these hands, man’
It's been one week since the ground-shaking confrontation between Memphis Grizzlies power forward Zach Randolph and Oklahoma City Thunder center Kendrick Perkins, a titanic face-off that featured Perk calling for a postgame meeting by the bus, Z-Bo promising to beat Perkins' posterior, a pair of ejections and an alleged back-room "altercation" that launched scores of tweets and an NBA investigation. The result of that league-office inquiry? A $25,000 fine for Randolph for "confronting" Perkins, no discipline for the OKC big man, a bunch of completely reasonable questions as to what exactly makes DeMarcus Cousins "confronting" Shawn Elliott so much worse than Z-Bo's tête-à-tête with Perk, and not much in the way of explanation.
Luckily, we have Randolph himself — that famously uncomplicated bastion of clarity — to help sort things out. In a must-listen (and slightly NSFW, via some coarse language) appearance on "The Chris Vernon Show" on 92.9 FM ESPN Radio in Memphis on Tuesday, Randolph offered his take on the "altercation," clarifying first that there was no "altercation" ("Man, nah, I didn't whoop his ass," though Randolph just laughed when asked if he had planned to do so), explaining what specifically the $25,000 fine was for (going through a set of double doors separating the Grizzlies' side of the locker room area from the visiting team's section, where the Thunder dressing room was) and detailing the genesis of the dust-up between he and Perkins (he thinks Perkins got mad because Randolph woofed a bit after teammate Marc Gasol absolutely worked Perk in the post on a prior possession).
OK, so we know why things started, we know why Randolph was fined and Perkins wasn't, and we know that nothing really happened. But let's take a forward-looking view — what did each man take away from the confrontation? Randolph's words, as transcribed by Thunder beat writer Darnell Mayberry of the Oklahoman, were unsurprisingly awesome:
Do you think Perkins got the point? Do you think he probably thought 'This guy's a maniac?'
(laughs) I don't know. Perkins know me, so he know what's up.
Could you whoop his ass?
(laughs) I'm good with these hands, man. I'm a jackin' dude. I'm pretty good with these hands, so …
If we could all make sure we remember "I'm a jackin' dude" when we fill out our ballots for the Quote of the Century Awards, that'd be great. Thanks.
Randolph went on to attribute his hand skills to his rough upbringing in Marion, Ind., where he said he and his brother had to fight "every day [they] came out the house."
How many have you lost? If I'm going to give you a record, right? Like a boxer, I'm going to give you a record.
You know what, I'm going to say about 30 ... 28-2 or 28-4. I'm going to tell you this, because I used to fight the older guys. You know, I used to fight older guys. You know, the older guys got to chastise you and make sure you ain't backing down. So me or my brother, we never backed down so we used to have to fight older guys.
And if you're not sure what kind of impact that childhood practice had on Z-Bo's fists, ask Ruben Patterson.
Still, as much fun as it is to hear Randolph talk about how easily he could turn himself into a weapon of mass destruction, NBA fans of every tribe — be they grit-grind Grizz lovers or full-throated Thunder supporters — will probably be glad to hear that Z-Bo chalks this all up to a learning experience:
It won't happen again. I ain't gonna lose no $25,000 again. I'm done with all that bluffing on the court, because them guys do a lot of bluffing. [...] We don't do no bluffing, man. (Laughs).
That's good. The NBA's more fun when dudes who average 17 points and 14 boards on an endless array of jab-steps, up-and-unders, pivots and lefty fadeaways without ever leaving the ground actually get to play in the games, rather than sitting them out for calling another dude's bluff. I'd be lying, though, if I said I didn't find watching Z-Bo just a little more fun because I know he could make that call.