Barnes left his 2017 NBA Championship ring behind after Golden State introduced him as he didn’t consider himself a champion because he fell out of the Warriors’ playoff rotation due to injury. His former team didn’t see it that way, however, and made sure Barnes returned home with his ring on for good when he appeared on ESPN’s “The Jump” in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
Host Rachel Nichols said the Warriors “have a courier service [Barnes’] sound “once they hear he’ll be on the show.”
“You are an NBA champion forever and never forget it. – Steve Kerr’s 2017 Championship Ring @ matt_barnes22 made its way from The Bay to LA and into the hands of MB on today’s episode of @ ESPN’s The Jump. pic.twitter.com/tkAnMTIySM
– Golden State Warriors (@warriors) 25 août 2020
“Hey, Matt. Congratulations! It’s time you took that ring, ”Warriors coach Steve Kerr said in a pre-recorded message. “We’ve been trying to get it to you for about three years now. No, seriously, I just want to say it was well deserved. You played a big part in our team in ’17, especially when [Kevin Durant] came down, and you were a great leader. You have been fantastic to train, one of the most competitive people I know and have given Warriors fans a lot of thrills over the years, dating back to the ‘We Believe’ era.
“So thank you for everything you have done for our organization. Enjoy the ring. You are an NBA champion forever, and never forget it. ”
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Barnes revealed on his “All the Smoke” podcast in May that Warriors senior vice president of communications Raymond Ridder was in possession of the ring. The NBA veteran said he didn’t “count this as a championship” and got “a free ring” for riding the pin on one of the greatest teams of all time.
However, he sold short with his own assessment, as Barnes played more than 20 minutes per game in the regular season with the Warriors. He helped Golden State weather the storm in Durant’s absence, going 16-4 in all 20 regular-season games he’s played. If Barnes hadn’t been injured, it’s possible – if not likely – he would have played a bigger role.
Yet Barnes is a competitor, and the sting of failing to contribute pendant the playoffs for a title winner is understandable. That would be reason enough for Barnes to quit his ring, but he admitted on Tuesday that part of the reason he did was a little more practical than that.
“They had a special ceremony for me, obviously,” Barnes said of the presentation of his championship ring. “The best part was that my kids also had rings. But because [the box the ring is in] is so big I didn’t want to sit in the stands (Oracle Arena) so they put it in a room. And then, when I was ready to go, the room was locked, and then it’s been just a cat and a smile since. ”
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Barnes maintained some of his self-deprecating spirit, however, saying it was “an honor to get front row seats on one of the biggest teams to do so. ”
While Barnes won’t admit it himself, the Warriors know Barnes’ 2017 title contributions went far beyond a beautiful sight. That’s why he finally comes home with his ring.