Have no fear, Kendrick Perkins is here to defend the Utah Jazz.
The former NBA player turned ESPN analyst released a very strange PSA on Sunday that he described as being “for all the Utah Jazz haters out there in the world today.”
Through the video, which begins with footage of LeBron James’ making fun of the Jazz during the 2021 NBA All-Star draft, Perkins asks the audience if they have suffered from the Jazz being hated on or been guilty of hating the Jazz and then urges those who need help to call the phone number 1-800-HELP-UTA or use the hashtag #RespectUtahJazzAgain.
While there were many Jazz fans on social media who immediately appreciated the NBA champion defending the Jazz and their current No. 1 roster, including Royce O’Neale’s mother, who retweeted the video saying, “Much love to @KendrickPerkins aka Big Perk! They need to stop being so disrespectful,” there were many more who found the video weird.
The general message is a good one. There are not a lot of good reasons to disrespect the Utah Jazz, especially this season, but Perkins’ specific message was strange for a couple of reasons.
First, there is a point in the video that Perkins says. “Do you ever see Rudy Gobert and say, ‘What’s that French dude’s name?’”
The problem with this particular moment is that in asking whether people know Gobert’s name, Perkins pronounced it incorrectly, putting an emphasis on the hard ‘t’ at the end of Gobert.
The next issue with the video is that while asking for people to respect the Jazz, Perkins also says that he relates to those who feel the need to disrespect Utah.
“I get it,” Perkins said. “I understand that sometimes it’s hard not to talk trash about Utah. Y’all want to throw salt on Salt Lake City.”
But even after he goes through those unfortunate moments, Perkins says that he has the solution and says to call the phone number 1-800-HELP-UTA.
Well, I called the number four times and had four different experiences. The first time, the automated operator asked for me to press 1 if I was over 50 years old, 2 if I was under 50. I pressed 2. The line went dead.
The second and third time I called the number, the operator said, “You have dialed a number that is not available from your calling area.”
The final time the line just went dead after it connected.
So, the good news is that someone with a national reach and audience is on the side of the Utah Jazz. The bad news is that that person doesn’t know how to pronounce Gobert and apparently there is no telephone help for Utah Jazz fans who have suffered hate.