Matt Barnes Says He Didn't Claim 2017 Warriors NBA Championship Ring Due to Role

Megan ArmstrongSenior Analyst IIMay 24, 2020

OAKLAND, CA - JUNE 23:  Former Golden State Warriors forward Matt Barnes attives at Water For Life Charity Softball Game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on June 23, 2018 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images)
Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

Retired NBA forward Matt Barnes considers himself a champion in title only.

The 40-year-old explained why during his ALL THE SMOKE podcast with co-host Stephen Jackson and guest Tracy McGrady (1:08:45 mark):

"When people say you won a ring, I don't count that for the exact same reason you said. I was playing good. I came in when [Kevin Durant] went down, played consistent 20, 25 minutes a 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 where they're already 8-0.

"So, me being a vet, knowing they're not gonna change the rotation. I don't expect them to change the rotation. I'm just gonna sit here and be a super vet and cheer these motherf--kers on, talk to people when they need to be talked to and just enjoy the ride. ... We did win it, but ... I don't count that ring."

Barnes, who added that his ring is sitting in the office of a Warriors staffer, signed with the Golden State Warriors in March 2017 after beginning the season with the Sacramento Kings. The 2002 second-round pick appeared in 20 regular-season games, making five starts, while Durant missed 19 games with a knee injury.

The 2016-17 campaign was Durant's first in Golden State, and the Warriors finished the regular season at 67-15 before going 16-1 in the playoffs—defeating the Cleveland Cavaliers 4-1 in the 2017 NBA Finals.

Barnes had previously played two seasons with the Warriors (2006-08), six seasons before the franchise won three championships in four years (2015, '17, '18) behind the likes of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green and Durant.

Barnes announced his retirement Dec. 11, 2017.