Matt Barnes’ return to the Warriors after nearly a decade has been an emotional one.
On Thursday, Barnes told reporters that former teammate Stephen Jackson got teary when he heard the news that Barnes would be heading back to the Bay Area. During that same media session, Barnes explained why Golden State held such a special place in his heart, and mentioned that his late mother, Ann, last saw him play as a member of the Warriors before passing away from cancer in 2007.
“Baron (Davis) sent me a text,” Barnes told reporters. “Me and Jack talked at length. He said he teared up. This has always been a special place for us. This was the last place my Mom saw me play before she died of cancer in that 2008 season. So a lot of special memories and relationships I built here. It’s just great to be back.”
The San Francisco Chronicle did a piece on the passing of Barnes’ mother at the beginning of that season, which detailed the love and pride she had watching her son come into his own as an NBA player. Ms. Barnes was so affected by her son’s success with the magical “We Believe” team, she asked to be buried in a Golden State jersey just hours before Matt played in the final game she would ever see.
“She said she wanted to be buried in her jersey,” Barnes told the Chronicle two hours before tip-off of that game. “We got a jersey made for her, with her name on it. We’re not going to bury her in that, but we got a jersey made for her.”
Ann passed away less than four hours after that game ended, with her final request being that Matt leave her bedside before tip-off and rejoin his team after a five game sabbatical.
“She was very warm, and instantly became like my aunt,” Baron Davis said after meeting Ann while at UCLA. “Amazing spirit, an amazing spirit. It’s so sad she’s not here anymore.”
Barnes will play his first game in a Warriors uniform since 2008, when Golden State faces the Bulls in Chicago on Thursday evening.