Harrison Barnes has a 2000 word plus article on the Players’ Tribune and you should go read all of it here.
It’s an introspective yet expansive piece that shows a glimpse of Harrison’s inner thoughts and priorities, framed by the environment surrounding Dallas when he arrived in town — just after the police shootings of last July.
When I moved to Dallas, I had two big goals. The first, of course, had to do with basketball. I came here to work hard and earn the respect of the fans. The second goal was more personal. I wanted to put down roots in Dallas. That was one of the upsides of signing a four-year deal.
And as he has done on the Mavericks with franchise icon Dirk Nowitzki, Barnes talks about engaging Dallas community leaders at a dinner not long after he arrived in town — and how he is looking for ways to get involved, but by listening and watching first:
Throughout the dinner, I only talked a little bit. Mostly, I listened.
Soon we moved on to new subjects — public education, health care, poverty and more. The dinner and the conversation went on for more than 90 minutes. I can truly say that I haven’t been involved in a discussion as honest and personal in a long time. There was no shortage of disagreement about the fundamental social and political issues facing Dallas. But one thing was crystal clear: Everyone there cared deeply about this city.
The piece goes over some hard subjects, including racial profiling, the shooting of Dallas police and engrained socio-economic barriers within our societies. Harrison goes over these subjects with a genuine desire to give back as he thoughtfully, humbly and sincerely talks about how he hopes to part of the change for better in Dallas. He also mentions that he hopes to post more in the future about his progress in trying to be part of that change.
Dallas fans got a first glimpse of what sort of big picture team player they signed when they saw the way Barnes handled the rather demeaning DNP articles during the Olympics. He hasn’t given them any reason to reconsider since.
Barnes’ class, character and humility are at the essence to what makes him the player he is and the guy he is. The Mavericks absolutely got one of the good guys.