Matt Barnes spent 14 seasons in the NBA. He played for nine different teams and was a part of an NBA championship team in the league in the final year.
As a player, Barnes knew how to play his role on the multiple teams he played for. He was also very athletic. In high school, Barnes was a top football prospect, and if he pursued football in college, there’s a chance he could have made it to the NFL.
Matt Barnes NBA career
In the 2002 NBA draft, the Memphis Grizzlies selected Barnes in the second round of the draft. He was immediately traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. Barnes played in the American Basketball Association during its inaugural season in 2003. He was a member of the Long Beach Jam and played with Dennis Rodman. The Jam finished with a 24-7 record and went on to win the ABA Championship. Barnes averaged 18.9 points and 6.8 rebounds.
After playing in the ABA, Barnes signed a contract with the Los Angeles Clippers for the second half of the NBA season. He played in 38 games and averaged 4.5 points and four rebounds per game. In October 2004, he signed with the Sacramento Kings and played a key role for the team coming off the bench. Barnes was traded halfway through the season to the Philadelphia 76ers, but he did not suit up with the team because he was dealing with tendinitis in his knee.
Barnes bounced around the league a few times during his career. From 2010 to 2015, he was in California playing for the Lakers and the Clippers. The 2012-13 season was one of Barnes’ best seasons. He averaged 10.3 points, which was a career-high and 4.6 rebounds per game. During the 2014-15 seasons, Barnes played for the Clippers and started in 74 games, which was a career-high for him. That season he averaged 10.1 points per game.
Matt Barnes winning a championship with the Warriors
Barnes started the 2016-17 season playing for the Kings. He played in 54 games and averaged 7.6 points. The Kings waived Barnes on February 20, 2017. A month later, Barnes signed with the Golden State Warriors. When Kevin Durant went down with an injury, they needed someone to step up in his absence.
Barnes filled that need and started in five of the 20 games he played with the Warriors during the regular season. Going into the 2017 playoffs, the Warriors were the favorites to win the NBA title. They would go on to defeat the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in the finals and finished with a 16-1 record throughout the playoffs, which is the best postseason winning percentage in NBA history. The 2017 title was Barnes’ first of his career. On December 11, 2017, Barnes announced his retirement from the league. He finished his career averaging 8.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game.
Matt Barnes was a highly rated football player
Not only was Barnes talented on the court, but he was skilled on the gridiron as well. He was an All-American standout in high school as a wide receiver. He certainly had the height to go up and catch balls over defenders.
In a FanSided article published almost 10 years ago, Barnes talked about his love for football. “Football was my first love when I was growing up, and I didn’t play basketball until I was in the eighth grade,” Barnes said in the article. “But in terms of longevity and wanting to be able to walk when I retire and play with my kids, I decided I wanted to play basketball.” It would have been a sight to see if Barnes made it to the NFL. But his fans got to enjoy watching him play on the hardwood.