CRANSTON, R.I. – Former Providence College basketball star Marvin Barnes is accused of soliciting a teenage girl in his mentoring program. The 17-year-old Cranston girl, who is a student at The Met School in Providence, met Barnes through his Rebound Foundation for at-risk youths, said Cranston Police Chief Col. Marco Palombo. The girl told police that Barnes, 59, had solicited her for sex, Palombo said. Barnes, of 1612 Worcester Road, Framingham, Mass., was arraigned at the Cranston Police Department Monday afternoon on a felony charge of soliciting a minor… Barnes was the second pick in the 1974 NBA and ABA drafts, spending two years in the ABA and four seasons in the NBA. But the South Providence native also became known for his drug addiction and squandered opportunities.
Marvin Barnes is one of my all time favorite insane athlete ever. So it’s with excitement mixed with a little trepidation that I see his craziness staging a career comeback like this. It’s like when Harrison Ford played Indiana Jones again. Or Bruce Willis coming back as John McLain. Or Stallone getting back in the trunks and gloves in Rocky VI. I’ve seen Springsteen twice since he put the E Street Band back together, and with all of them, it was more about nostalgia than feeling like they were doing anything new or worthwhile. So while I’m happy Bad News Barnes is back, I doubt he can match the former glory I always loved about him. A few examples:
*In high school he and some of his buddies tried to rob a bank. Witnesses were able to identify Marvin though, by the fact that he was 6-8. Also by the fact that he was wearing his State Championship jacket with his name embroidered on the back.
*At PC, he once attacked a teammate with a tire iron and had to pay him 10 grand in damages. It didn’t stop the school from putting him in their Hall of Fame though.
*When he was in the ABA, he noticed his plane ticket said the club was leaving Louisville at 8:00 and arriving in St. Louis at 7:56. Confused by this, he asked how it could be so someone explained to him how St. Louis is in a different time zone, etc. So Marvin told them to cancel his ticket because he “ain’t getting on no time machine” and rented a car. Thus inspiring the band name The Marvin Barnes Time Machine.
*With the (then) San Diego Clippers he complained to reporters about how they weren’t playing as a team. Everyone was out for themselves. His beef? He had 48 points with 2 minutes to go and no one fed him the ball so he could get 50.
*With the Celtics, he had a bag of coke in the pocket of his warm ups, put a towel over his head on the bench and snorted it mid game while Tiny Archibald scrambled to the other end of the bench to get away from him.
*He famously said he’d “work in a factory” before he’d play for less than a million. His first deal had a $100,000 signing bonus, $15 grand of which he spent on a Cadillac. Then during warm ups of his first game he found out his girlfriend crashed the car and, distracted by the news, he was only able to muster 6 points. So he upgraded to a $35,000 Rolls.
*He once did 152 days in jail for carrying a pistol in his bag in the Detroit airport. He got out, then did another 33 months for burglary and being a drug mule at a place where he said the guards would routinely let the prisoners beat each other to death rather than step in.
*He signed a 7 year, $2.1 million deal but didn’t know it was to be paid out over 14 years ($150,000 per) so he said he’d been “hoodwinked” and refused to play until he got a new contract. Overall he made $4 million in his career and still wound up homeless.
The book on Marvin was that his Bad News days were over, he was in rehab and running a mentoring program. Now we find out he’s trying to bone one of the underage youths he’s supposedly mentoring. It’s like it’s 1977 again all over. Or like he’s decided to surprise everyone with a set of his greatest hits we all know and love. Sadly I don’t think it can ever be the same, but I appreciate Marvin going back to his insane, degenerate roots. @JerryThornton1