Matt Barnes on 2017 NBA title with Warriors: ‘I got a free ride’

Delfin Dioquino
Matt Barnes on 2017 NBA title with Warriors: ‘I got a free ride’
Matt Barnes says he does not count himself as an NBA champion after playing sparingly in the playoffs of the Warriors' title run in 2017

MANILA, Philippines – Matt Barnes revealed he did not accept his championship ring when the Golden State Warriors won the 2017 NBA Finals over the Cleveland Cavaliers, saying he got a “free ride.”

The retired NBA player consistently averaged 20 minutes during the homestretch of the 2016-17 regular season when Kevin Durant was out, but got sidelined at the start of the playoffs due to an ankle injury. 

By the time Barnes returned from injury, the Warriors already had Durant back in the lineup as they lost only one game in the playoffs and dispatched LeBron James and the Cavaliers in 5 quick outings.

In 12 playoff games, Barnes saw action for just 61 minutes. 

“Me being a vet, knowing they’re not going to change the rotation, I’m just going to sit here and be a super vet and cheer these motherf***ers on, talk to people when they need talking to, and just enjoy the ride,” Barnes said in his All The Smoke show with fellow retired NBA player Stephen Jackson. 

“We did win it…but I don’t count that ring.” 

Barnes even bared his championship ring is still sitting in the office of Warriors vice president of communications Raymond Ridder.

The revelations came after guest and Hall of Fame inductee Tracy McGrady said he would not have received his own championship ring had the San Antonio Spurs won the 2013 NBA Finals. 

“I got a free ride. I got a free ring. So when they say NBA champ, I don’t count myself as an NBA champ for the exact same reason you said,” Barnes said, replying to McGrady.

“[The] journey is what makes you want to say like, I helped…I didn’t sweat,” Barnes added.” I didn’t get to guard LeBron and none of these other [guys], Kawhi [Leonard], so I didn’t count my sh*t.”

Barnes retired after the season, ending a 14-year career in the NBA. –

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.