Former NBA player Matt Barnes revealed to Shannon Sharpe that he turned down a chance to play with the Miami Heat during the Lebron James era.
Barnes, meanwhile, was telling Sharpe an episode of ‘Club Shay Shay’ that he had the opportunity to play with Miami but would not have given up the chance to play with Kobe Bryant in LA.
“I was literally talking to Pat Riley and D Wade and they were talking about us building something over here. There are words from him [James] come and there are words coming from Bosh,” Barnes said. “It’s the free route for me and I’m literally chatting with Pat Riley.”
Barnes had just finished a season with the Orlando Magic in which he averaged 8.8 points and 4.2 rebounds.
“One day I get a call. I’m still out in Orlando chilling and get a call from a number I don’t recognize,” Barnes continued. “And I never pick up my phone. And I happened to pick up the phone and it’s him [Bryant]. ‘
“He’s like it’s Kob … We start pacing back and forth and he asks me what I’m doing. And I’m literally telling him I’m back and forth, I’m talking to Miami right now. He’s like, “Nah f*** Miami, you wanna be a Laker.” And I’m like hell, yeah, and four days later I was a Laker.
Sharpe then asked Barnes if he thought No. 8 Bryant or No. 24 Bryant was a better player. Barnes played against Bryant when he wore the former and with him when he wore the latter.
“I would pick 24. Just because he was off the court more often as a person,” Barnes said.
Barnes then recounts how he took down money and missed two NBA Finals rings in Miami, admitting he wouldn’t trade that for a chance to “become brothers” with Bryant.
“I wouldn’t give that up for the opportunity to play with Kob. I wouldn’t trade it for money or rings,’ he said.