“There’s no bullshit to me,” exclaims Matt Barnes in a terrific feature by SI.
The 35-year old LA Clippers forward opens up about his 12-year career, discusses the ups-and-downs of playing for eight teams, and tells an amazing story about partying with Allen Iverson.
Barnes, loathed by opponents and loved by teammates, had a rough upbringing—his father was a butcher and moonlighted as a drug dealer—but credits it for making him resilient and always ready to throw down.
Barnes says James Harden is the toughest player to guard in the NBA because he’s “tricked the refs” into bailing him out; doesn’t respect Serge Ibaka’s tough-guy act and admits Ron Artest is the only NBAer he’d have thought twice about before knuckling up.
Oh yes, Iverson … The Answer, according to his former teammate, created a downpour of dollar bills whenever he hit the strip club:
One early lesson came from Iverson, his teammate for half a season in Philadelphia. “Allen was the first guy that showed me how NBA players spend money in strip clubs,” Barnes says. “That guy went. HARD. He’d throw so much money, and this was when I was first in the league, that I used to take my foot and scoop the shit under my chair and either re-throw it or put some in my pocket. He’d throw $30,000, $40,000 every time we went. I’m like, ‘You realize what I can do with this money?'”
Philly is also where Barnes learned that it’s a star’s league. At the time, he was the 12th man, clinging to a job. As Barnes tells it, he was working with shooting coach Buzz Braman after practice, hoping to smooth out a hitch in his shot, when Sixers head coach Mo Cheeks walked by. “I don’t see why you’re working on your shot,” Cheeks said. “You’re not going to get to shoot here.” Barnes fumed, but said nothing. A week later, in practice, things came to a head. “I came down on a 3-on-1 and hit pull-up 15-footer off the glass and [Cheeks] stopped practice,” says Barnes. “He yells, ‘What are you doing? What are you shooting the ball for? You know that’s not your job, you gotta pass the ball!'”
Barnes was shocked “What? But I made the shot.” Said Cheeks: “That’s why you don’t play.'” And then, Barnes says, he lost it. “I was going to chase him down and whoop his ass, so I took off after him and AI grabbed me and I got through him and Chris [Webber] grabbed me and bearhugged me and I said to Mo, ‘You’re lucky.'” […] Says Barnes now: “I hated Mo Cheeks. He was a dick.”