After 15 years in the NBA, Matt Barnes was unable to secure an NBA Championship until he joined the Warriors in 2016. There, at 36-years-old, Barnes was plugged into one of the greatest lineups ever assembled in Kevin Durant, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.
By all accounts, a ring is a ring, right? But for Barnes, he remained hesitant to credit himself a Champion.
(via All The Smoke)
"I came in when [Kevin Durant] went down, playing a consistent 20-25 minutes. The game KD comes back, I get hurt maybe a week before the playoffs and I’m out of it. Worst ankle sprain of my life. I'm not healthy until the end of the second round," Barnes said. As a "vet," he didn't expect them to change the rotation. "I'm just going to sit here and be a super vet and cheer these motherf*ckers on. Talk to people when they need to be talked to and just enjoy the ride. We did win it...I don't count that as a championship."
"I got a free ride, I got a free ring...I don't count myself as an NBA champ."
Barnes' line of thinking is how a lot of others feel in the NBA community. Players who hop on good teams for the sake of winning a Chip are often vilified and discredited from having earned a title. Real Champions, people say, don't take the easy way out.
No matter your opinions on that, Barnes' feelings confirm that even some more modern players reject the idea of ring chasing.
Unfortunately, it's not a practice that seems close to dying out.