Sports Spectrum Weekly

Sacramento Kings' Harrison Barnes walks with Christ as he advocates for change

It’s been a disappointing run this year for the Sacramento Kings, who were officially eliminated from the NBA playoffs on Sunday. But for forward Harrison Barnes, he’s taken his stint in the NBA bubble to advocate for various nonprofits.

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According to The Undefeated, Barnes has been donating $25,000 to different organizations and promoting their missions on social media. Each nonprofit he chose was created by the family of a victim of police brutality and gun violence.

“While playing basketball is a privilege, there’s so much going on in society right now that’s more important,” Barnes told The Undefeated. “So, for us to be able to play, for us to be able to have a season, it’s only appropriate that the main focus remains. The main focus is causing change and allowing Black people to have a more equitable stake in society.”

Barnes almost didn’t get to participate in the NBA restart because he, his wife, Brittany, and his mother, Shirley, all contracted the coronavirus. Harrison was able to submit negative test results in time to join his teammates in Orlando, but he would have stayed home in the Bay Area if Brittany, who had the toughest battle of the three, hadn’t improved by the time he was to leave.

When he returns home after the Kings’ final game on Thursday, Harrison will help Brittany open a hair salon in Oakland. It will focus on creating places for women, specifically Black women, to experience self-care in addition to hair styling. The business has long been a dream Brittany’s, and was slated to open in April, but the pandemic halted those plans.

“I was about to onboard employees,” Brittany told The Undefeated. “Luckily I didn’t have anybody on payroll yet. So that was God, honestly, because that would have been a whole different situation.”

Both Brittany and Harrison look to God to guide their lives. She describes herself as a believer “by His grace, for His glory” on social media, and Harrison lists Acts 4:12 in his Twitter profile. The Bible verse reads, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under Heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

“I think in every type of situation you have to give praise to God,” he told the Smoking Cuban blog in 2017. “There is no valley without a mountain. There is always going to be an up with a down and it’s all cyclical. So you are either just finishing going through a tough period, about to go through a tough period, or you are right in the middle of one. I think no matter what, as long as you continue to just stay steadfast, stay in the faith, everyone has so many dreams and expectations, but at the end of the day it’s about putting God’s invitations before that.”

As an NBA star, he knows he’s being watched closely, so Barnes aims to point people to Christ.

“The scrutiny is huge,” Barnes also told the Smoking Cuban, “just because people see athletes and immediately you are assessed as a role model, the standard, how you live, everything you do is critiqued and put under a microscope. What I have learned in my 24 years of being on this earth and walking with Christ is just no matter what you do, allow people to try to see Him [Christ] through you.”

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