B/R Exclusive: Interview with Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Lakers
Furthermore, he was nice enough to sit down and answer some questions for Bleacher Report, with topics ranging from his improved health, the Lakers' recent road bumps and the possibility of an NBA lockout in 2011-12.
The following is a transcript from the interview:
B/R: First of all, I’d like to say that what you’re doing with Athletes vs Cancer is really admirable, and it’s also great that Warehouse Shoe Sale was able to come in here and sponsor this event. Now would you like to talk about some other types of things that Athletes vs Cancer does?
Barnes: Athletes vs Cancer is a foundation that I started in 2008 after I lost my mom to cancer in 2007, and our goal is early detection, preventative screening and just really spreading knowledge about the cancer disease.
B/R: That's a really, really great thing to do. How is your knee doing, by the way?
Barnes: It’s good. I just got cleared by physical therapy today, and I’ll be back practicing on Monday.
B/R: So do you think you’ll be able to return to game-play by early March?
Barnes: Yeah, either the end of this month or the beginning of next month.
B/R: So now that you’ve been playing with the Lakers for a while, how is it playing alongside guys like Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom, a couple guys you got into it with a little last year?
Barnes: It’s been great. We didn’t really get into it, I mean really, last year it was just more of being a competitor more than anything, you know, just both guys going back and forth. But ever since I’ve been a Laker, it’s been great, and those guys have really accepted me.
B/R: What do you make of all of the reports in the media and everything, where people are saying that the Lakers are really struggling, given that they’re still 38-19 and third in the Western Conference?
Barnes: We really don’t worry about what people outside of our locker room say. We know what kind of a team we have. We know what we’re capable of. We just got to continue to get better and get ready for the playoffs.
B/R: Do you think that rumors about the Lakers looking to make any trades have affected the team at all?
Barnes: Well, you never know. Anytime that your name is up in a trade, I’m sure it can affect you mentally, and that obviously carries over to the court. So I can’t really speak for anybody else, but I’m sure that maybe it has a little bit.
Will the return of Matt Barnes put the Lakers back on track?
B/R: How do you think you guys are going to do in the playoffs this year?
Barnes: I think we’ll be fine. I think, as long as we stay healthy, we have a great opportunity to be in the Finals and win.
B/R: What are your thoughts on the potential for a lockout next year?
Barnes: I think it’s terrible. I think the NBA is at an all-time high right now, and I think it would be a tragic mistake if we went into a lockout.
B/R: Given that you were an All-American wide receiver in high school, if there were a lockout and the NFL was still going on, would you possibly pursue the opportunity to play football in the NFL?
Barnes: That’d be fun, but I’m focused on basketball now. So if there is a lockout now, I would just have more time to hang out with my family.
B/R: Alright, well thanks for speaking with me, and good luck with Athletes vs Cancer and with the Lakers this season.
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