Kendrick Perkins, NBA champion, is an analyst for ESPN. He appears on HoopStreams, The Jump, SportsNation, First Take, and myriad other platforms for the network. I caught up with him in Milwaukee before Game 4 of the NBA Finals to find out about five goals he is still working to accomplish.
1. I want to accomplish more as an analyst than I did in my playing career.
I don’t want to leave anything on the table. Whatever’s supposed to come my way, I want to make sure I capitalize and maximize it.
When you look at my playing career, I never won awards. I never was an All-Star. I never won Defensive Player of the Year. I never won any of those things. When you talk about being an analyst, you want to get nominated for an Emmy. You want it to come naturally. So, I just want to maximize and make sure I put my all into it.
I was a role player throughout my whole 14-year NBA career. Now, in the analyst space, I want to be a superstar. I want to be a franchise player.
I just want to make sure that whatever is there for me that I maximize it. I want to touch every show, and I’ve pretty much done that besides NBA Countdown. I know you have to wait for your time, I know certain things happen. But, as far as things are right now, I just want to touch every show. As far as Countdown, I don’t want to boot anyone or take their place, but if it’s there and the opportunity presents itself I want to welcome it with open arms.
2. I want something of my own in media.
Not necessarily hosting a show, but even if I’m a co-host. I want to be part of something that is every day where you tune in and Perk is going to be on this particular show. I know I’m on a lot of shows, but I want that primary show where you turn on the TV at this time and Perk is there.
3. For my 9-year-old son to accomplish his dream of making the NBA.
I coach my son’s team. They are nine years old and ranked number 1 in the country. My son has a dream of making it to the NBA and my goal is to get him to his goal. I have four kids but my 9-year-old is really into sports — especially basketball. As a family man, I want to be there.
There’s times where I have to work Monday through Friday, I leave Friday night, I might catch a tournament in Dallas, might catch a tournament in Miami, just to be there and make sure I’m there to coach and support — and then fly back and be ready for work on Monday. It’s a whole lot of travel.
4. My two oldest boys and me — we need to get in shape.
Abs need to be poking out. Things to that nature. No need to hire a trainer, because I know what to do and I know what to eat. So, it’s all about me setting an example for them and myself and sticking to it.
5. I want to turn my Frenchie dog breeding from a 6 figure business to 7 figures.
I breed exotic French bulldogs. I have six of them. My brother-in-law and I breed them. It started off with my dog Diesel, who we bought for $18,000. Then we bought a girl that cost $20,000. They’ve had four litters of puppies — litters of five, six, or seven. We made close to $230,000 just off the little puppies.
Well, now the Frenchie game has changed, and they have Fluffy Frenchies. Now you want to graduate to Fluffy Frenchies, which are like the best Frenchies ever. They’re just super exotic. They’re different because of their hair. They look like stuffed animals. It’s just the new thing around the world. There was one guy that made like $3 million in a month just off his dog’s stud fee.
To sell the puppies, you just get caught up in the Frenchie game. There’s all types of connections and things to that nature — around the world, from England to Spain and on and on, people are buying dogs. You’re connected throughout the world. Once you get into the Frenchie business, people reach out all the time.
If a person from, like, Spain spends $100,000 on a Frenchie, you’re not shipping that dog by yourself. It probably won’t make it. Someone will probably steal it on the way or it will quote-unquote get lost in the airport. So I would just hire someone to fly wherever it is in the world and just drop that dog off at the doorstep.
5 Goals: Taylor Rooks
“I want to speak to all people, not just a specific category of people.”
Taylor Rooks is a personality for Turner Sports and Bleacher Report. Here, in her own words, are her five goals:
1. I want to be an all-around interviewer.
What I mean by that is I want to reach a point where people don’t just know me as a sports interviewer, where people don’t say oh she interviews athletes and coaches and executives … I want people to see me as someone who has conversations with people who have something to say.
If that’s an athlete, great. If that’s a politician, great. If it’s an entertainer, great. If that’s just somebody who has an everyday job but they have something to say to the world, I want to be able to interview that person too. I want to speak to all people, not just a specific category of people.
A lot of that is on me reaching out to those people, and having a content vehicle that allows me to do that, but when I think of my favorite interviewers — Howard Stern, Oprah — their thing is they can talk to anyone. I want to do that.
Some people I want to interview: I got to interview Barack Obama, and that’s who I would’ve said. But, that was quick. I would love to have a long-form interview with him. Obviously, I’d have to throw in Michelle Obama as well.
Mariah Carey, I know that’s a random one, but she’s just lived such an interesting, lavish life. I read her book, and there were some things she didn’t really touch. Obviously, in your book, you don’t touch on the things that you don’t want to talk about. I would love to interview her.
Serena Williams, I know she’s obviously an athlete, but I’d love to interview her. Howard Stern is my favorite interviewer so I’d love to interview him. She’s unfortunately passed, but if I could interview anyone who is no longer with us I’d love to interview Princess Diana. And, Pam Oliver, who is a legend. Hopefully I can meet and later interview her.
2. Create a foundation or initiative for women in sports.
At first, I wanted it to be just for Black and Brown women, and I might have a branch of it that’s for that, but then I wanted it to be for all women. Right now there’s this idea that women in sports don’t get along, or that it’s incredibly catty, or everyone is out to get the other. In some ways, that’s probably true, but I think the majority of women want to see other women in this field win. We understand that a win for one of us is a win for all of us.
I don’t think there’s enough focus on the culture that’s created this idea that women are catty or whatever the case may be, because I don’t believe that to be true. I think the more that we can get women in sports together, and there’s more of a sisterhood and deeper innate understanding of each other — the more we can do what we can to improve that culture and hopefully the people who have created that culture do what they can to improve it too.
Everybody is trying to work hard and get what’s owed to them. You always hear Well, women in sports, but you never say Men in sports. You never say This man is a power hungry person [or it’s at least not said in a negative way]. That’s a very unfair burden on the women to carry. I don’t like it. I think women that are entering into the space are conditioned to think that’s true, because they hear it so much. I would like to have something that dispels the one-sidedness of the rumor.
3. I want to travel more and fluently learn a second language.
Throughout the pandemic, I started doing Duolingo to learn Spanish. Americans are one of the few countries that only know one language. Almost every other country it’s almost a necessity that they know another language, even if that language is English.
I would just like to expand my horizons in terms of culture and language and understanding that America is only a small section of the world, but so many times we feel like we’re the center of everything. That just isn’t true. I want to learn a new language, travel more, get more in-tune with other places and cultures and get into things like soccer. I want to stop thinking of things from such an American point of view.
4. This is a lifelong goal, but I really want to be a mom.
I’ve really wanted to be a mom my entire life, and there’s something so beautiful about raising a life and having this human being that is born out of love that you have this number one job — the biggest job you’ll have in the world, which is to nurture and protect and love this human. I definitely want to be a mom.
I want to have like five kids. I probably should’ve started by now if that’s the case (laughing). I want to be a mom. That’s my number one goal above everything.
5. I want to do more football.
Just being from Georgia, in the South, I grew up loving football. My dad played football. It was a football house. I love basketball — I love them both, but I just love football a little bit more.
I’ve gotten kind of sucked into doing mainly NBA, which is great and has led to so many amazing experiences, but I just wish I had more of a hand in football. I would love to be able to do more of that.
6. Bonus Goal: I would love to be a professor.
I want to teach journalism interviewing at the college level, just because I don’t love the way it is taught at universities. It’s taught in the way that the professors went through media, and media is so different now that I just think students would really benefit from having someone who came up in this new wave of journalism and social media and content creation. That’s the way it’s going.
It’s still obviously great to have these classes where everyone works as the producer one day, and the director, and the teleprompter. You go through all those things, and learn about investigative reporting. All that is so important. But that isn’t what a lot of young journalists want to do now, so being like a visiting professor at a school is something I would love to do one day.
Five Goals: Will Cain
“I think most Americans largely agree on some positive values that we’ve forgotten.”
Will Cain is the co-host of FOX & Friends Weekend (Weekends, 6-10 AM/ET) on FOX News and host of The Will Cain Podcast, which recently expanded to three episodes per week. In his own words, these are his five goals.
1) Do Something.
One of the statements that’s really resonated with me as I’ve gotten older in life is: Do you want to be something, or do you want to do something in life?
This week I’m getting to host FOX News Primetime and I’m excited about that opportunity. But whether or not that manifests in a permanent job and whether or not the Will Cain Podcast as a digital platform becomes my outlet, I want to have a place where I can create something. Do something.
I want to hold a conversation with the audience that pushes towards positive values in this country. I don’t just want to be anti. You know, everything in our industry is conflicts centered around being anti. Anti-racist or anti-anti-racist, always positioning what you’re against.
I think most Americans largely agree on some positive values that we’ve forgotten. Whether or not it’s FOX News Primetime, or another primetime slot, or a digital platform, I don’t care — as long as I can do something about shining a light and advancing those values.
2) I want to live on the beach.
My wife and I *will* live on the beach. I love the mountains. I lived in Montana for a year. I love the country. I want to own a ranch. I want to spend time outdoors. I want to hunt and fish with my boys.
But I know, at some point in my life, and it’s probably after my kids are out of the house, my wife and I fully intend to live on a beach — in Hawaii or Florida or California.
(RG: I interrupted, laughing, that I don’t see him as a California guy.)
When I lived in New York, I went to the beach all the time in Long Island. You forget that you’re an hour away from the beach when you’re walking around Midtown. We would go to the beach all the way through the Fall. I like all kinds of places. Make no mistake, I’m a Texan, but I don’t think Texas beaches will satisfy my requirement.
There’s something about looking out over that massive body of water. It’s just perspective. I think I have an exploratory part of me where I love going somewhere that it feels like no one has been before.
There’s a line in Lonesome Dove where Gus says, “There’s nothing like riding a fine horse into new country.” I love that line. There’s something about the ocean, when you’re standing on the beach, it just looks endless. It’s not unexplored, but it feels unexplored. It’s always changing. It’s always moving. There’s just the great unknown there as you’re looking out over the ocean and that appeals to my exploration instinct.
3) I want to become a proficient surfer.
This is totally against the cast type you have for me, but you know there’s those things in life that people love but they’re just not great at but they do it anyway. People should have those things. For a lot of guys, that’s golf. They just keep doing it no matter if they’re any good at it or not. Golf just never did it for me.
This is tied to living on the beach; I’m not any good at surfing but I do it any chance I can. I love surfing. Fun is not the right word. I understand the spiritual nature of it when you’re out there. You can’t conquer the ocean. You can’t tame it. All you can do is try to ride along with it. And even if you’re not, just sitting out there waiting is so spiritual. I want to become a proficient surfer.
4) Swim from Lanai to Maui again.
This is very Hawaii-centric; I did just come back from there. We go there for vacation every year.
Here’s the thing. I’ve done this swim before. I did it when I was 39; I wanted to do it before I turned 40. It’s a swim, nine miles, across the channel between those two islands. It’s a relay, with six friends of yours. It was an awesome, humbling experience.
All my friends and I talked about going into it was who’s going to get eaten by sharks. That’s all we thought about, were sharks. But once you’re out there, swimming, you forget about sharks almost immediately. All you can see is deep blue sea and you realize there’s nothing you can do about it anyway — and you’re fighting the ocean.
I want to do more than one physical accomplishment before this life is over. I don’t really want to run a marathon. I hate running. Maybe hike a peak somewhere, but I haven’t really set that out as a goal. But the one thing I know I can do, and I have done, is open water swims.
I don’t love open water swimming, because it’s usually cold. Like, Alcatraz or the English Channel, which is not something I intend to do. I want to the Lanai to Maui swim with my buddies again; that’s going to be my placeholder for more than one physical challenge that I want to do again in my life.
I don’t want this to sound too much like my first goal, but I’ve learned the difference the last few years between careerism and purpose. But, I have two sons, my wife, and myself. If I can do something, beyond all my other goals in life, it’s for all of us to find our purpose. What we’re doing here.
Without that, we’re just aimless. I think a lack of purpose is the major source of depression and anxiety for almost everyone in society. I don’t even think it’s if you have a job or not. I think it’s Why do I wake up every day and do what I do? What actually matters?
Your career can only be loosely tied to that. Maybe more so if you’re lucky or if you’re purposeful in how you create that. But — money, advancement, promotion, fame, platforms … they’ll all quickly lose their allure. They really will, and they’ll show themselves to be hollow. If you can find a purpose, and I do think religion is probably a necessary component to that search, then I think you’re going to find a fulfilled life. That’s what I want for myself and my family when I raise these two boys.
6) Bonus sports goal: I’m torn between whether I want to see, along with my sons, another Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl or the Texas Longhorns dominating the SEC.
The funny thing about sports is, they’re not my goals how can I have a goal that someone else will accomplish? (RG: I mentioned that seeing a championship before you die is a multi-variable equation in which we do have some control, and that he could eventually gain access to future Dallas Cowboys owner Stephen Jones and/or become a Texas booster funding NIL endorsements.)
Whatever Arch Manning’s son’s name is, playing quarterback for Texas, sponsored by the Will Cain Show on FOX News. That’ll make him popular, too (laughing).
The way I figure it, if you win the SEC, you win the national title. It would be so vindicating after I’ve heard that Texas is going to be a mediocre team. Maybe they will at first, but they won’t be for long. I want to prove that Texas belongs.
5 Goals: Rob ‘World Wide Wob’ Perez
“I’ve always had aspirations, hopefully with FanDuel in collaboration with another network, to apply NFL Red Zone to the NBA.”
This month’s subject of five goals is Rob Perez, better known to NBA Twitter as World Wide Wob. The content creator and producer for FanDuel shared with me five things he wants to accomplish or see happen.
1. I want to make FanDuel, my licensing partner in content creation, as happy as possible.
My goal is to drive people to their web site or app, and spread the reach of the brand. I’m sure there’s a more formal word for that, but I want to organically integrate FanDuel into everything I do.
I don’t want to just be a commercial — hey 20% off, or here’s a free bet — because people are drowning in those across various forms of communication. All the content I do is naturally involved, and if someone’s asking about who’s favored it’s a very seamless type of content integration in which I can include them and drive them to FanDuel if they’d like to put their money where their mouth is.
I would certainly love the opportunity to continue working with them — not just because they pay me to do so, but I do find value in working with a sportsbook of that size that is turning into a content company. Of course, they’re always gonna be a sportsbook. It makes them the most money. But, giving you additional reasons to engage with that brand, if you have an itch to bet on something, is what my job is.
I want to continue to be the face of the NBA for them, having a very casual conversation about the game itself — whether that’s off the court stuff, or all the coaching departures earlier this week. Integrating the FanDuel logo into all this feels much more real than a 30-second commercial between timeouts. I want you to enjoy the experience of the show, and gamble if you so choose.
2. NBA Red Zone.
I’ve always had aspirations, hopefully with FanDuel in collaboration with another network, to apply NFL Red Zone to the NBA. It would work best on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and sometimes Sunday, when there are 8-9 concurrent games.
That’s why I’m where I am today. I’m watching every single dribble of every single game. But, I would never expect any other normal human with responsibilities outside of NBA content creation to ever keep up with what’s going on between the Kings and Pistons while there’s seven other games on, one of which is nationally televised.
So, if the NBA ever decides to have a true commitment to their version of the Red Zone — they’ve tried versions of it on NBATV, but I’ve never seen one hopping between games every 15-20 seconds, hot switching any time there’s a play stoppage — I’d love to do it.
You’d have a Scott Hanson type host who is as integrated with the league as it gets. I hope maybe one day I have the opportunity where what I do on my own personal timeline merges with true rights partnership from the NBA. Just based on the feedback I get on my Twitter page, there would be demand for it.
3. Do another NBA variety show.
In the past, I had a show called Buckets that I did with Cycle and ESPN. It had sketches, pre-produced talk segments, and interviews. Think of it like Jimmy Kimmel or Jimmy Fallon’s shows, but applied to the NBA.
Inside the NBA is obviously the gold standard for an NBA talk show. But, those guys are going to retire at some point. What I do on Twitter Spaces, Twitch, and Periscope — I want the ability to blow that out with some more production resources.
Right now, I’m doing everything myself, from playing DJ to directing to taking calls to actually running the show and talking basketball and researching stats — I’m doing it all on the fly. While I’m certainly happy to do that, I know what we could create with a team around me because we’ve done it in the past. I would love to do a weekly variety show based around the NBA.
4. Some more work life balance.
My entire day for 11 months out of the year revolves around the NBA. It’s my job and I’m happy to. I love following it. At some point, I feel like I’m gonna get burned out, and I don’t want to ever get to the point where doing this feels like work.
It felt a little bit like work this year, and that might be because I’m on Year 8 doing this. [RG note: at this point, I mentioned how last offseason was so condensed after the bubble, and how the energy felt partially zapped out of sports with a lack of fans]. I’m gonna watch regardless because I’m a crazy person, but I think a lot of people would agree with you that the return to normalcy is helping with the engagement on a mainstream scale.
This offseason will be condensed again. We have the Olympics, which of course I’m going to watch because stars will be playing. Summer League is in August. There’s free agency and the draft. There’s barely going to be one month — September — where there probably won’t be a whole lot of NBA news or events.
But then we’re going back to the normal schedule from before the pandemic, which means Media Week will be the first week of October. There’s one month off before it all starts again, and I’m hoping I don’t get burned out by it.
Being on the East Coast, it’s impossible to follow the NBA 24/7. I don’t know how people with kids and families do it. Getting back to the West Coast is a personal goal of mine, which will happen this summer when I move back to Los Angeles. These hours will allow me to get back to a more normal life.
5. I want the Knicks to win a championship in my lifetime.
Just being a die hard Knicks fan and not seeing a title in my lifetime, that’s a personal goal. I’ve put so much work into watching every effing game since I was eight years old with Patrick Ewing and John Starks in the NBA playoffs.
I was young, but I was old enough to know that I wanted to stay up for those games. I was emotionally invested. I would even get to the point where I was putting towels underneath the door so my parents couldn’t see that the TV was on. They thought I was sleeping.
Of course I want my team to win a championship, and I don’t want to die without seeing that mountaintop. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be a Red Sox or Cubs fan and going all those years without seeing them win, then having it happen. I want to experience it once.
Whatever it takes to get there. I have too many gray hairs on my head, and every single one of them I can attribute to a single Knicks game from the past decade. Being a fan while trying to create objective NBA content will always be a challenge, but being a Knicks fan will always take precedent over a career because it means that much to me.