Kendrick Perkins is an interesting sort of guy. He’s constantly scowling on the court, racking up technical fouls and getting into it with opponents. But off the court? He’s a friendly dude. He even smiles every now and then. So when Perkins talks about his teammate Russell Westbrook being two entirely different people on and off the court, he’s speaking from experience. He knows what it’s like to maintain an on-court persona, even if it doesn’t blend with you actually are away from the hardwood.
That makes Perkins pretty qualified to understand and comment on Westbook’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde act, and he did just that to ESPN.com’s Justin Verrier:
“He’s night and day how he is off the court,” said Kendrick Perkins. “On the court, just joking here, but you want to strangle him a little bit. But he’s night and day. He gets in a zone, man, and he just feels like he’s the best player on the court. Seriously.”
It’s not hard to believe that there are times when Perkins wants to strangle Westbrook for taking a contested pull-up 22 footer in traffic with 18 seconds left on the shot clock. He’s a maddening player to watch, but you sort of have to let him be him. Even though he’s made strides as a distributor, when it’s knuckle-up time, you better believe Westbrook thinks he’s the guy that’s most well-equipped to bring home a win.
Perkins isn’t a stranger to dealing with confident, unrelenting point guards. After all, he played with Rajon Rondo in Boston — another lightning rod player. Although the two have very different playing styles, they evoke similar emotions with the way they conduct themselves on the court. They’re both just kind of…what’s the word I’m looking for? Help me out, Kendrick.
“They definitely different [from other point guards],” Perkins said. “They both some divas. In a good way though.”
That’s it! Divas in a good way. Westbrook and Rondo are both unapologetic, in your face types of players, and that’s not what we typically associate point guards with. They aren’t running the show — they are the show. That attitude makes them great, but it also destines them for a career of rubbing people the wrong way. That’s never going to change.
And that’s why diva is the perfect word, even if it has a negative connotation. Westbrook and Rondo know who they are, and they make no apologies for it. They take pride in it — just like a diva would. You love ’em or hate ’em. I don’t know which guy is Diana Ross and which is Mariah Carey in this analogy, but hey, Perkins is still spot on with his analysis.