Kendrick Perkins didn’t mean any disrespect.
Really, he never thought it was a big deal.
But the Thunder center will now join his teammates when they line up on the court during the national anthem.
Prior to Friday’s game against the Lakers, Perkins traditionally had exited the court and run back to the locker room just before the singing of The Star Spangled Banner. Starting with the Lakers game, however, Perkins said he will stick around for the anthem out of respect from now on.
“I didn’t know people made a big deal about it,” Perkins said prior to Friday’s game.
Perkins explained that his ritual was to visit the restroom during the anthem.
“I go in there and get my head together,” Perkins said. “Sometimes I be in there meditating a little bit and then I come out. But I’m going to be out there from now on, though.”
Perkins said he started the tradition during his Boston days. Fans in Oklahoma City, though, have begun noticing Perk’s absence, and Perkins doesn’t want his ritual to be a distraction.
“You know how you start a ritual and you just keep it going? That’s pretty much how it was. I just get my head together; take a deep breath. If you’re feeling some type of way, if you’re too pumped up you go in there and just calm down a little bit. Stuff like that.”