We only had 10 minutes to shoot our questions on Tuesday afternoon at the Mall of Asia Arena.
But that brief moment we had listening to Sam Perkins talk about his NBA experience, his time with NBA greats Michael Jordan and James Worthy as well as his thoughts in the NBA free agency showed how much he remains in touch with the game he loved since his youth.
Our last few minutes with Perkins centered on his thoughts on Dwight Howard’s impending plan to move out of the the Los Angeles Lakers and search for a team that could give him “the best opportunity to win NBA championships.”
Here’s what Perkins has to say about Howard’s free agency drama:
“In my personal opinion, he’s (Howard) beginning to get bad reviews for the way he’s handling it (the free agency).”
“Of course, the best thing to do is always to try to do what’s necessary. But back 15 years ago, teams would put up with it. Today, players get coaches fired. But it was the other way around before. We had examples of that before, like Latrell Sprewell choking a coach. Today, players have a lot of power because of the free agency,” explained Perkins.
Once one of the top shooting big man in the NBA, Perkins is hopeful that Howard would keep things simple and make a decision soon so he could start focusing on getting better as a professional player.
“He’s (Howard) a great person, but basketball-wise, he still needs to learn the game more and respect the game more,” said Perkins, who is in Manila to promote the NBA Global Games Philippines 2013.
“So many years should be gone and if he keeps traveling city to city, he won’t be able to establish a legacy like Shaq (O’Neal). He’s got this small records in different cities and different teams, but if i were in his situation, I’ll try to better my game and get the decision right away,” added the 52-year-old former North Carolina alum.
Perkins ties Karl Malone with 0-3 Finals record
The 6’9” Perkins played for four NBA teams during his 18-year basketball career. Drafted fourth overall by the Mavericks in 1984, Perkins blossomed into a big man with a decent shooting touch from the outside.
He played for the Mavericks, the Los Angeles Lakers, the Seattle Supersonics and the Indiana Pacers since 1984 before calling it quits at the end of the 2001 season.
At least in my memory, he was just one of a few NBA veterans (with 15 years and up playing experience) who played in three NBA Finals but remained without a championship ring. The other notable one is Karl Malone.
Perkins played in three NBA Finals – Lakers in 1991 (loss to the Chicago Bulls, 1-4), Sonics in 1996 (lost to the Bulls, 2-4) and Pacers in 2000 (lost to the Lakers, 2-4).
Malone suffered a similar fate like Perkins, losing two straight times against the Bulls in the 1997 and 1998 Finals, before another unsuccessful title bid when he joined the Lakers. The Lakers bowed to the Detroit Pistons, 1-4 in the 2004 NBA Finals.