HOMETOWN: Beaumont, Texas
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.
He played the biggest part in my life as far as basketball. He's probably the reason I have the scowl on my face. He said, “Every time you step on the court, it's always business.”
I've been happy to play for great organizations. I leave one great organization and come play for another great one. Most guys don't get that in their career. It's just a blessing.
My kids. My littlest one ... he's only 6 months, but my oldest one's 4. I'm trying not to really get caught up in name-brand tennis shoes and everything. Sometimes, it'll be hard because you want to get the best for your child, but at the same time, it's a fine line. You want them to realize and appreciate every little thing.
Everybody at my son's school, if everybody gets $2 for lunch, he's gonna get $2 for lunch. I'm not going to give him $5 or $10. No, you're gonna get $2 for lunch. Maybe give you 50 cents extra.
If I could say there's anything that would trigger me off in going to the deep end ... it's your children. It's just to the point where you don't want anybody ever messing with your kids. You turn on CNN, and you see kids come up missing, and you don't ever want that.
I know God says you're not supposed to cherish nothing more than him, but at the same time, it's hard (when you have children).
I try to be the same person with everybody. I try to give everybody the same respect that I want them to give me. The biggest thing with me is I try to stay humble. I try to be the same person I was in high school or whenever.
We catch ourselves complaining about a lot, but if we sit back and really think about it, we fly on private jets, we play in top-notch arenas, we get paid a lot of money, we go on the road and we live in the finest hotels. It's like we get treated with so much royalty. We take a lot of things for granted.
I wouldn't change nothing, to be honest. I wouldn't change nothing.