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Kendrick Perkins speaks out on how Grizzlies’ Zach Randolph earned his respect

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For Kendrick Perkins, Zach Randolph is one of the toughest NBA players in history. In a recent interview, Perkins shared the exact time when and how Randolph — who was then a member of the Memphis Grizzlies — earned his respect.

Speaking with Cassidy Hubbarth, Amin Elhassan, and Tony Allen in a live stream chat on ESPN, Perkins recalled the 2014 first-round playoff duel between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Grizzlies. Perkins and Randolph had been getting physical from the get-go. As such, their fouls piled up — forcing them to hold back on their physicality.

According to Perkins, both of them agreed to talk to the referee to allow them to be physical. This surprised Perkins since not all players would agree to do this. For Perkins, this was the exact moment that the Grizzlies star got his respect.

Below is the actual incident:

It’s definitely a great story. NBA players are the fiercest competitors in the world. One would think that they hate each others’ guts on and off the court. But even a bruiser like Perkins has a soft side to him, which, rightfully, can be unleashed if you wish to get physical with him.

Among those he played against, it was the Grizzlies’ literal “power” forward who was willing to stretch out the rules a bit. Somehow, they noticed that soft calls limited their playstyle. And one way to fix this was the approach the officials. So it was nice of the referees to agree with their request but at the same time, remind them of the rules of the game.