Matt Barnes has carved out a nice career for himself after starting his pro days in the D-League and the ABA, but it hasn’t come without developing a reputation as a bit of a hot head.
While on The Vertical Podcast with JJ Redick, Barnes recounted the issues he had with Mo Cheeks, who was his coach in Philadelphia during the 2005-06 season:
“He was just a dick, man. I don’t know any other word to explain it, he just wasn’t cool,” said Barnes. “I really didn’t like him and I would still to this day slap him in his face if he said anything to me type shit. I just don’t like him.
“I was shooting after practice one day, it was just me and the shooting coach in the gym, no one else in there. He walks by and says, ‘What are you doing? You’re not going to be able to shoot here.’
“A week or two later, he said something and I just lost it and I went after him and Chris Webber grabbed me and it was what it was.“
After a short 50-game stay in Philly, Barnes made his way to Golden State where he played the next two seasons. In December of 2006, Barnes got his revenge on Cheeks:
“I went to Golden State the next year and that was really the first time I got to play,” he continued. “I told a few guys on the team the story and I told Don Nelson, ‘I really don’t like this guy. He really dogged me last year…’ And I literally probably played the whole game and had 26 or 28 points and hit like seven 3’s.
“After my first few shots I made, Mo was talking shit like, ‘Oh, that was lucky. That was lucky.’ And after that, I got as hot as can be. I didn’t miss many shots and after every shot I would say what I had to say to him. After the game I talked to the guys and they said I had them rolling on the bench…Everyone was telling Mo, ‘Sit your ass down!’ It was vindication for me.”