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Kendrick Perkins Admits He ‘Prayed’ for LeBron Injury in 2008 Playoffs

There are numerous tales of how LeBron James has terrified his opponents on the basketball court over the course of his historic NBA career. The latest came from former Celtics big man Kendrick Perkins, who shared that he was once so scared about having to play “The King” that he secretly wished an injury upon the superstar.

In an appearance on The Old Man & the Three Podcast with JJ Redick, Perkins confessed that he prayed for something to happen to LeBron at practice before Game 7 of the 2008 Eastern Conference finals between the Cavaliers and Celtics. Coming off a loss in Game 6, in which James had scored 32 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, Boston’s starting center wasn’t sure his team could get the job done in the series finale, unless the Cavs star was sidelined.

“I got a confession… We played the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2008 and it was a Game 7 right. We had just lost Game 6 and I ain’t gonna lie man, I was scared as hell going into that Game 7 against LeBron James,” Perkins said on the podcast. “This was the only time that I actually prayed that something happened to him at practice… I was like let us get breaking news that LeBron has tore his ACL or something.”

At that point, Redick jumped in, saying “I’m gonna have to edit this out.” Perkins quickly insisted that the segment stay in. 

“No, no, you can’t edit this out. This is real. That’s how terrified I was of LeBron.”

Redick and podcast co-host Tommy Alter tried to give Perkins a way out of saying that he wished for James to tear his ACL, but each time the former Boston big man insisted that he prayed for an injury severe enough to keep the four-time MVP out of the Game 7.

“I haven’t [told him this], but he will hear this and I hope he don’t look at me crazy,” Perkins said. “But I was actually praying on his downfall just that one time. I did not want him to play. Like if he could’ve gotten his ACL, or whatever the injury was, fixed the very next day and been ok, it’s perfectly fine. As long as he didn’t play against us.”

Thankfully, James didn’t suffer a serious injury against the Celtics prior to Game 7 of the ’08 Eastern Conference finals. He went on to drop 45 points on the road in Boston, but still couldn’t will the Cavaliers to victory. The Celtics came out on top, 97–92, and advanced to the NBA Finals, where they beat the Lakers in six games. 

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