Mon Jul 26 03:00pm EDT
Remember, back in March, when Matt Barnes(notes) faked a pass at Kobe Bryant's(notes) face, but Kobe gave Barnes' antics the Chris Rock treatment? That was kind of funny, but not quite as funny as Bryant and Barnes being teammates just four months later. Even funnier than that is the story of how Barnes ended up in Los Angeles. No, not just the part where he thought he was going to be a Raptor, only to see that deal fall through, but also the in-depth recruiting stuff that us mortals are rarely privy to.
However, Barnes spoke about the process on Fox Radio's "Into the Night with Tony Bruno" on Thursday night.
"Kobe has been the driving force behind this. I have been talking to Kobe back and forth like we were boyfriend and girlfriend for the last two weeks and sending us texts and talking. It feels good when you have the best player in the world in your corner and Kobe is definitely in my corner. He sent me a crazy text message today saying something like, anyone crazy enough to mess with me is crazy enough to play with me. So I think that was a good tone to set and I think I am ready to be a Laker."
Classic. Let's hope opposing fanbases around the league start chanting "Kobe Bryant and Matt Barnes sitting in a tree, T-E-X-T-I-N-G" any time they're both on the court together. It's a ready-made heckle, courtesy of Matt Barnes. There should be some pretty good signs based on this quote.
But really, this signing is a combination of two well-regarded NBA tropes: The player you hate, that you love when he's on your team and "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em." Lakers fans and players hated Barnes last season, but now he'll be seen as an important piece in Los Angeles' quest for a three-peat. And Barnes, of course, gets the benefit of playing for the best team in the league. The times, they are a-getting different.
Even Lamar Odom(notes) — who called Barnes a "monkey" and "action figure" in two of last season's most incomprehensible insults — is squashing the beef with Barnes, and this is after Barnes offered to feed Odom diapers. If those guys can be OK playing together, then this might work out pretty well for Los Angeles.
And that's another thing that's always being said about the NBA — the rich get richer. That one's true too, I suppose.