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Collected wisdom: Thunder center Kendrick Perkins

The Thunder center talks about growing up in Beaumont, Texas, and his own children.
by Jenni Carlson Published: April 28, 2012

HOMETOWN: Beaumont, Texas


AGE: 27

Thunder big man Kendrick Perkins is best known for his scowl, but behind the tough-guy exterior is a thoughtful, interesting character. Even though he can be a live wire on the court — a league-high 12 technical fouls this season are evidence of that — the eighth-year pro is grounded by the people and events that shaped him.

My grandparents, they probably played the biggest role. With my mom dying at an early age, there were a lot of family members that played a major role in my life, but my grandparents were the main ones.

I was real close to my great grandmother. She actually lived next door to my grandparents. That was my job to go over there — we lived on the farm — so I had to go help her feed the chickens, feed the ducks, stuff like that.

And I'd go watch “The Price is Right” with her every morning during the summer time.

I was her favorite out of 323 grandchildren and great grandchildren.

Growing up in a country town like that where everybody knows everybody, it definitely keeps you humble. It's a churchgoing place that's very spiritual. Reminds me a lot of Oklahoma City. It's just smaller. It's just hardworking people. People who put their hard hats on every day and just go to work, praise God and just try to live right.

You really get taught about how to go get it on your own.

I wasn't born with a silver spoon in my mouth or nothing to that nature, so I was taught to just go get it. It was a lot of blood, sweat and tears growing up, but I think that's what made me who I am today.

My sixth or seventh grade year, that's when I started getting to the point where I seen I could make something out of (basketball). I kept putting forth the effort, and when I got to high school, I really took it up to another level.

School started at 7:30. I was at school at 5:45 working out in the gym.

My high school coach once told me, “It doesn't matter what it is in life, whatever you put into it is what you get out of it.” That's what I live and stick by.

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by Jenni Carlson
Jenni Carlson, a sports columnist at The Oklahoman since 1999, came by her love of sports honestly. She grew up in a sports-loving family in Kansas. Her dad coached baseball and did color commentary on the radio for the high school football...
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