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Former NBA Player Matt Barnes Mulling Possible Run For Mayor of Sacramento

BARNES: "I Just Want To Make A Difference"

Former NBA player Matt Barnes has been thinking about politics, his community, and possibly running for the mayor of Sacramento, he said. Sacramento, Calif. Publicity Agents footage by T. Ray Harvey. June 3, 2018.

THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, Sacramento, Calif. — A year after winning an NBA championship with the Golden State Warriors, Matt Barnes is considering a run for an elected office. He is completely serious about it, too.

Barnes mentioned his intentions on June 4 at a reception for Noah Phillips, who is a candidate for Sacramento County District Attorney. Barnes, a Sacramento native, is supporting Phillips’ campaign against incumbent Ann Marie Schubert.

The California primary election is June 5, but Barnes, who spent 14 years in the NBA, is thinking about the future. He has his eyes on the mayor’s office of Sacramento.

“I am thinking about it,” Barnes said at Foundation Restaurant and Bar in downtown Sacramento, right down the street for Golden 1 Center. “Just hanging out with Kevin Johnson the last few years and talking and seeing the changes he made, I would like to pick that up and take it a step further.”

Johnson, who was born and raised in Sacramento, served as the mayor of the city from 2008 to 2016. The former NBA All-Star decided not to run for a third term and has since adjusted to a comfortable life away from politics.

During his two terms, Johnson pushed to address homeless issues, jobs, housing, and education. His signature moments is when he saved the Sacramento Kings from falling into the hands of investors in Seattle and getting the franchise an entertainment and sports complex built in Golden 1 Center.

The current mayor of the city is Darrell Steinberg, who elected in June 2016.

For almost three months, Barnes has been a staunch supporter of the family of Stephon Clark, the 22-year-old Black man who was shot and killed on March 18 by two Sacramento police officers in the backyard of his grandmother’s backyard. Clark was unarmed with nothing but a cell phone.

The Clark case sparked protest in the city and across the country. Barnes held a rally for the family and the young man’s two sons in Sacramento Cesar Chavez Park. He was also a pallbearer at Clark’s funeral. Civil rights activist Rev. Al Sharpton gave the eulogy.

Barnes’ nine-year-old twin sons Carter and Isaiah questioned their father why the cops would shoot an unarmed man with a cell phone. From there, Barnes has been ultra-outspoken about police brutality and how people are treated in the criminal justice system.

Phillips, who has been a prosecutor in the Sacramento County District Office for 20 years, the last four under Schubert, has been running his campaign on reform and ending large mass incarceration of people of color. Phillips said himself that he learned a couple things about the system from Barnes.

“He was the first guy to connect a bunch of dots about gun violence,” Phillips said. “Whether it was mass shootings in our neighborhoods or the police, he talked in a way that we as a nation, we as Sacramento, we as California, about the hard conversations we have to have.”

Barnes was a high school star in football and basketball at Del Campo High School. After playing four years for UCLA’s basketball team, he spent 14 years in the NBA, which included two stints with the Sacramento Kings.

Along with Phillips, other guests at the reception included California-Hawaii President of the National Association for Advancement of Colored People, Sacramento Coordinator for Anti-Recidivism Coalition Esteban Núñez, and Benjamin Crump, the high-profile attorney for the Clark family.

“I definitely want to come back here and start with change,” Barnes said. “I’m here to support (Phillips), and hopefully, on down the road in about 10 years when I run for mayor, he’ll support me. I just want to make a difference.”

By T. Ray Harvey | PA Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist

Twitter: Tony Ray Harvey @PublicityAgents

T. Ray (Antonio) Harvey is a Public Information Officer and Photographic Artist for Publicity Agents. Harvey is also the author of The HOMICIDAL HANDYMAN OF OAK PARK: MORRIS SOLOMON JR.

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