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NBA champ pushes back on LeBron James’ comments about racist Celtics fans, agrees they might be ‘disrespectful’

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Kendrick Perkins, who won an NBA championship with the Boston Celtics, pushed back against LeBron James’ claim that the team’s fans were “racist as f—“.

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The Los Angeles Lakers superstar made his remarks during an episode of HBO’s “The Shop.” However, the statement didn’t exactly resonate with Perkins, who played for the Celtics from 2003 to 2011. Perkins explained on ESPN’s “First Take” on Monday that he had heard stories about Celtics fans of Marcus Smart, Bill Russell and others.

“But here’s what I mean, there’s racism everywhere. And I would say that to a lot of people, I spent eight and a half years there and maybe because I was on the Celtics, I haven’t experienced racism. And I think of people living in Boston and people moving to Boston…and you’re lucky to get there, you’d see there’s all different types of coaches and everything,” said Perkins, who is now an NBA analyst for ESPN.

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Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins, #43, pushes towards the net against Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, #23, as the Celtics practice ahead of facing the Cavaliers in Game 6 of the second round of the NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on May 16, 2008.
(Stuart Cahill/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

“Now I’m going to say this. Boston fans cross the line and hit below the belt when it comes to being disrespectful, and I could say throwing stuff at players like LeBron saying he had threw a beer, we saw a water bottle get thrown at Kyrie Irving, we heard the fans sing certain types of things when it came to Kyrie Irving Even when we were playing against the Cavaliers when LeBron James let us dropping those 40 pieces, we saw posters in the stands that were very disrespectful.You start going out of bounds when you start talking about people’s loved ones.

“So I’ve never dealt with racism, but I hear so many other players say Boston is racist and things of that nature, but there’s racism everywhere. I will say the fans are too disrespectful when it’s about opposing teams coming to Boston.”

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Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins defends against Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on Friday May 07, 2010.

Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins defends against Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James during the first quarter of Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at TD Garden on Friday May 07, 2010.
(Christopher Evans/MediaNews Group/Boston Herald via Getty Images)

James made the comment when talking about his least favorite cities to play in. James’ business partner, Maverick Carter, mentioned during the chat that there are places where fans “can literally take the game from you.” James mentioned Boston as one of those places.

Show co-creator Paul Rivera asked James why he hated Boston.

“Because they’re racist as a f—, that’s why,” he said. “They’ll say anything, and that’s fine. I mean, fuck, that’s my wife, she’s been dealing with them all her life. I don’t mind. I hear it, if I hear somebody ‘a close I check ’em real quick I’m going to play whatever the f—. They gon’ say what the f— they mean. They might throw something. I got done throw a beer at me leaving a game.

Carter said Boston was the only place in the NBA where they had t-shirts that said “F— LeBron.”

James added: “Yeah, that’s like an ‘F—LBJ’ t-shirt. I think they probably sold it at the f—ing team shop.”

Los Angeles Lakers #6 LeBron James looks on during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 1, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California.

Los Angeles Lakers #6 LeBron James looks on during the game against the New Orleans Pelicans on April 1, 2022 at Crypto.Com Arena in Los Angeles, California.
(Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Both James and Carter are investors in Fenway Sports Group, which owns the Red Sox, Liverpool FC, Pittsburgh Penguins and RFK Racing.

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