You never pray for an athlete to be injured unless of course you’re Kendrick Perkins and that athlete is LeBron James.
During a recent appearance on the Old Man and the Three podcast, Perkins admitted that he once feared James. He also admitted that prior to Game 7 of a 2008 second-round matchup between the Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers, he prayed that James would suffer an injury (comments begin around the 52-minute mark).
“I got a confession,” Perkins said. “We played the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008 and it was a Game 7. We just had lost Game 6. And I’m not going to lie, man. I was scared as hell going into that Game 7 against LeBron James. And this was the only time that I actually prayed that something happened to him at practice.
“I was like, ‘let us get breaking news that LeBron has torn his ACL or something.’ I did, bro. I’m not even lying and I’m not even exaggerating … this is real. That’s how terrified I was of LeBron.”
Co-hosts JJ Redick and Tommy Alter were completely taken aback by Perkins’ admission and even suggested editing those comments out. Perkins insisted they not and then continued…
“Let me tell you,” Perkins said. “We got by the Hawks and I remember it was Game 6 in Cleveland and he drove down the lane and dunked on KG (Kevin Garnett) and James Posey. I seen it in his eyes because I was sitting on the bench — I had a horrible game. And I kept saying to myself, ‘we’re not getting past this mother f—–r. He’s coming in here and he’s going to beat us.’ I could see it.
“I was scared. I was like, ‘this is just a different dude right now’ and I was scared. And I actually was sitting up there really praying that I woke up to news that some type of way he was going to be out of the game.”
Pressured further on the torn ACL comment, Perkins refused to back down. He would not have been satisfied if James had sprained his ankle or come down with the flu because he felt like The King would play through it. He remained steadfast that he prayed for a debilitating injury.
“I did not want him to play in this Game 7,” Perkins said.
James ended up playing in that Game 7 and dropped an impressive 45 points. But it wasn’t enough as Perkins and the Celtics not only sent the Cavaliers home, but went on to win the NBA Championship.