Former Los Angeles Clipper Matt Barnes reflects back on his Clipper years with the release of the new documentary BLACKBALLED on Quibi.
Right before the NBA season came to halt, the Los Angeles Clippers were on a roll, winning seven of their last eight games with the only loss coming against the rival Los Angeles Lakers. The Clippers sit as the 2-seed in the Western Conference looking up at the Lakers, who had won four of their last five before the coronavirus hit.
Matt Barnes played for both the Lakers and Clippers in his 14-year NBA career. He also faced the Lakers in the Finals with Orlando and had a memorable moment with Kobe Bryant, before Bryant recruited him to Los Angeles.
If and when the NBA season resumes, the former Laker and Clipper sees the two teams on a collision course that will decide the NBA championship.
“I think the championship is coming back to L.A. regardless,” Barnes said. “I would like to see LeBron get another ring for the Lakers and in honor of Kobe, but at the same time, I would love to see the Clippers get their first because we felt we were on the brink of something special with that Lob City team and I think egos got in the way, derailing that dream. I really feel like the championship is coming back to L.A. and if I had to pick one, … I’d have to say the Clippers.”
Barnes has been reliving his Clipper years with a new documentary BLACKBALLED on Quibi. Barnes was on the team when the Donald Sterling tapes were released by V Stiviano, Sterling’s friend who was present at many Clipper games.
“She (Stiviano) made a point to be noticed, courtside during the game, on the court or whatever she would do, no one liked her,” Barnes recalled. “She was an eyesore to everyone. No one respected her, no one could stand her. It’s not my place to judge what he (Sterling) does in his personal life because I’m definitely not perfect, but the route they took as far as just publicly disrespecting his wife, and really just disrespecting the team, was crazy to me.”
Barnes found Stiviano’s presence courtside more shocking and crazy than what Sterling said on the tapes. Barnes had experienced extreme racism growing up at a predominantly white high school, so this was not new.
“I experienced real hate. Burning down bathrooms at my high school and swastikas and die n*****, a mannequin with my football jersey with a noose around his neck. I really faced the worst of the worst. So to hear a rich older white man speak on black athletes like this, he’s not the only one, he’s just the only one dumb enough to get caught.”
The Sterling saga ended with Sterling’s wife Shelly selling the team to Steve Ballmer for two billion dollars. The Sterlings got their money, but lost the team, while Stiviano disappeared from the public eye.
“I think that she thought because she had snitched on him or broke the tape that she would get her 15 minutes of fame and become some reality star off it,” Barnes said. “I’m glad that didn’t happen, I’m glad that no one cares about her or has heard from her in years and I’m glad that Donald (Sterling) is not the owner of the Clippers anymore.”