For the second straight season, Boston Celtics star Jayson Tatum finds himself in the middle of the MVP conversation at the All-Star break.

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith vocalized his support for the Boston center on Thursday’s “First Take”, and his colleague Kendrick Perkins told NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg he agreed.

“Oh, I’m voting for Jayson Tatum,” Perkins told Forsberg. “If the season stopped today … and this is my criteria, the best player with the best record. He’s doing that. People don’t realize the sacrifices that Tatum had to do.”

Perkins added: “Right now, he’s averaging right around 27 points a game, eight and a half rebound. That’s monster. And, he’s shooting 55 percent or close to that as far as his two-point field goal percentage.”

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The Celtics are owners of the league’s best record, 43-12, with a six-game lead over the Cleveland Cavaliers for the top seed in the Eastern Conference.

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“Look, if the Celtics finish with the number one seed overall, the best record in the league, which I believe they will,” Perkins said. “Tatum is getting my vote.”

The 2008 NBA champion has had a tumultuous relationship with Celtics fans in recent years, so he made an impassioned plea.

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“I love y’all Boston fans,” Perkins said. “Look, stop trolling me, okay? You know where my heart is at. I love y’all.”

Featured image via David Butler II/USA TODAY Sports Images