Sports Illustrated published a profile of longtime NBA role player and noted asshole Matt Barnes today. The story effectively goes about humanizing Barnes, who’s known more for his eagerness to scrap on the court than for his play, but there’s still plenty of great anecdotes in there about Barnes losing his cool.
For example, here is a scene from a Philadelphia 76ers practice, when Barnes was a benchwarmer on head coach Mo Cheeks’s squad:
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.”
Now go on and read the rest of the story; it’s good! And yes, Barnes talks plenty of shit about Serge Ibaka.