Matt Barnes played with and against plenty of ballers during a 14-year NBA career that included stops on the Los Angeles Clippers, Sacramento Kings, New York Knicks, Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers and Memphis Grizzlies, but one person in particular stood out when it comes to someone he wants to fight.
"Mo Cheeks," he said when asked who would be a worthy opponent in a fight when he joined Bleacher Report for an AMA session Monday.
"I f--king hate him. F--k Mo. F--k Mo Cheeks if he sees this."
While Cheeks' playing career ended following the 1992-93 campaign and never overlapped with Barnes', he did coach the swingman on the 2005-06 76ers.
Barnes also opened up about his infamous fake pass in Kobe Bryant's face that didn't even make the Lakers legend flinch. He called Bryant the best player he ever played with and the hardest player to guard while also revealing the fake pass was "sporadic" and not planned.
"I thought he was in front, I saw the edit last year," he said. "Who the f--k has time to find something like that. When I put the ball in his face, I put it in his face."
Barnes also said stunning the top-seeded Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 NBA playoffs with the We Believe Warriors was his favorite game he ever played in during his career. He also believes that team would see significant playing time over the current and injured version of the Warriors when asked how many of his teammates would get on the court.
"All of us. We would be the starting 5. No bulls--t. There's no question. That would've been a helluva mix to have that team with the team we had. We would've brought more out of those guys. We all had the Draymond Green mentality. We were ready to fight on and off the court. We were smoking, drinking together every night. Once Jack came to our team."
While the comments about Cheeks, Bryant and the We Believe Warriors stood out, Barnes offered a number of interesting answers during the AMA session.
He called Steven Jackson his funniest teammate, said a mix of PJ Tucker and Patrick Beverley when asked which current player reminds him of himself, and predicted the Clippers will take home the championship this season even though he grew up a Lakers fan who enjoyed watching Magic Johnson.
Elsewhere, he believes Luka Doncic "has a chance to be the best Euro ever and a top 25 player of all time" and said New York Knicks owner James Dolan is the league's "worst owner" and the reason marquee free agents don't join the team in the Big Apple.
Barnes also talked about his work with UCLA in a cannabis research program and thinks marijuana will "hopefully" be legalized in the NBA within two to four years. He stressed "there has to be more research behind it" but noted "I'm helping that process."
It wouldn't be a discussion about basketball without some mention of the historic greats beyond his own interactions with Bryant, and he revealed his all-time starting lineup would be Bryant, Michael Jordan, LeBron James, Shaquille O'Neal and Stephen Curry.
While the inclusion of Curry may raise an eyebrow or two, Barnes had the opportunity to play with the sharp-shooter and marveled at his work ethic during the AMA. It's also enticing to envision Curry playing alongside the likes of those other four playmakers and taking advantage of all the open space they create as arguably the best three-point shooter in history.
Unfortunately for Golden State, Curry is one of the players sidelined by injury. So is Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, Kevon Looney and D'Angelo Russell, which has resulted in a 1-5 record and Barnes believing his We Believe Warriors team would "be the starting 5" this year.
Count it as another loss for the current Warriors.
NBA legends turned “All The Smoke” podcast cohosts, Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, join “The Full 48 with Howard Beck” to discuss their new Showtime pod, the most misunderstood guys in the NBA (Draymond Green, Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and LeBron James), the best and worst organizations in the league, load management, and the negative culture of social media.