This article is going to be ominous. It’s going to be a forewarning. It’s going to be specific and it might just rile some feathers. It’s going to be a crying shame.
It’s also going to be true.
Harrison Barnes will have to work tirelessly in the NBA to shed the stereotype about him: “He shrinks from the big games.”
Do I think it’s a fair assessment at all? NO.
Do I think it’s accurate? NO.
Do I think he’s had some opportunities pass before him and not made the most of it? Maybe.
Why am I writing about this? Because Metta World Peace (AKA Ron Artest) will catch the business half of a 5 to 10 game suspension for an elbow on Oklahoma Thunder’s James Harden. I think it will absolutely be warranted and it was a dirty play. Most importantly, it’s a dirty play by someone with a reputation of being a dirty player.
The artist formerly known as Ron Artest, will not be remembered for winning the NBA’s citizenship award for the 2010-2011 season. He’ll be remembered for the “Malice at the Palace.”
Now, Harrison Barnes is one of the top 20 most talented players to put on a Tar Heel jersey—in my humble opinion. In fact, he’s probably the only one that got some heat over the course of his UNC career. Barnes had such a cloud of hype around him that it was undoubtedly hard for him to breathe.
I’m not comparing Harrison Barnes to Metta World Peace. That’d be crazy.
I’m comparing the cemented reputation of one NBA player to the possible future reputation of another. Ron Artest—and I don’t care, I’m calling him that—will always stick out in my mind as the slightly younger Dennis Rodman. Both were full of antics, intimidation, and borderline sociopathic tendencies.
When I see Harrison Barnes in the next level, I want to see a closer, a finisher, a guy that demands the ball in crunch time. He’s going to half to channel that inner warrior—the M.J. in the clutch, for everyone to see just how much they got the stereotype about him wrong.