Marvin Barnes

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Marvin Barnes
Personal information
Born(1952-07-27)July 27, 1952
Providence, Rhode Island
DiedSeptember 8, 2014(2014-09-08) (aged 62)
Providence, Rhode Island
Listed height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight210 lb (95 kg)
Career information
High schoolCentral (Providence, Rhode Island)
CollegeProvidence (1971–1974)
NBA draft1974 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall
Selected by the Philadelphia 76ers
Playing career1974–1986
PositionPower forward / Center
Number24, 8, 27
Career history
19741976Spirits of St. Louis
19761977Detroit Pistons
1977–1978Buffalo Braves
1978–1979Boston Celtics
1979–1980San Diego Clippers
1980Hurlingham Trieste
1982–1983Detroit Spirits
1983–1984Ohio Mixers
1985–1986Evansville Thunder
Career highlights and awards
Career ABA and NBA statistics
Points5,034 (16.0 ppg)
Rebounds2,873 (9.1 rpg)
Assists651 (2.1 apg)
Stats at

Marvin Jerome "Bad News"[1] Barnes (July 27, 1952 – September 8, 2014) was an American professional basketball player. A forward, he was an All-American at Providence College, and played professionally in both the American Basketball Association (ABA) and National Basketball Association (NBA).

College career[edit]

In 1973, Barnes was the first player to score 10 times on 10 field goal attempts in an NCAA tournament game, a record surpassed by Kenny Walker, who went 11-for-11 in 1986.[2] He led the nation in rebounding in 1973–74. On December 15, 1973, Barnes scored 52 points against Austin Peay, breaking the single-game school record.

At Providence, Barnes averaged 20.7 points, 17.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists in 89 career games under coach Dave Gavitt.[3]

Professional career[edit]

Barnes was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers with the second overall pick in the first round of the 1974 NBA draft and by the Spirits of St. Louis in the 1974 ABA Draft. Barnes opted for the ABA and played for the Spirits in the American Basketball Association from 1974 to 1976 before playing in the National Basketball Association from 1976 to 1980. He had his greatest success in the ABA, where he starred for the Spirits and was named Rookie of the Year for the 1974–75 season. Barnes also shares the ABA record for most two-point field goals in a game, with 27. In 2005, the ABA 2000, the second incarnation of the ABA, named one of their divisions after him.

Often the colorful personality, Barnes once refused to board a plane from Louisville to St. Louis. Because the flight was scheduled to arrive (Central Time) before its departure time (Eastern Time), Barnes famously said, "I ain't getting in no damn time machine." He rented a car instead. [4]

In 144 ABA games over two seasons, Barnes averaged 21.4 points, 13.4 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.9 blocks. In 171 career NBA games Barnes averaged 9.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists. His overall career averages were 16.0 points, 9.1 rebounds and 2.1 assists.[5]


Barnes' nickname "Bad News" was derived from his frequent off-court problems, which began when he was a senior at Central High School.[6] He was part of a gang that attempted to rob a bus. Barnes was quickly identified, as he was wearing his state championship jacket with his name embroidered on it. His case was handled by the juvenile justice system. In 1972, while playing center for Providence College, Barnes attacked a teammate with a tire iron. He later pleaded guilty to assault, paid the victim $10,000 and was placed on probation. Barnes violated probation in October 1976 when an unloaded gun was found in his bag at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport, and served 152 days in Rhode Island state prison.[7] Upon release he returned to the Detroit Pistons. Barnes was arrested for burglary, drug possession, and trespassing.[8] Because of his drug use, Barnes' NBA career was cut short and he wound up homeless in San Diego in the early 1980s. After several rehab programs, Barnes started reaching out to youth in South Providence, where he grew up, urging them not to make the same mistakes he had.[9]


On September 8, 2014, Barnes died at the age of 62.[10] The death was confirmed by Kevin Stacom, a scout for the Dallas Mavericks, who was a teammate on the Providence College team that reached the Final Four in 1973. Barnes, who had been drug-free for several years, had recently succumbed to his addiction again, Stacom said. [11]


In March 2008, Providence College retired his jersey, honoring him along with Ernie DiGregorio and Jimmy Walker. He still co-holds (since tied by MarShon Brooks) the school single-game scoring record of 52 points.[12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ "NCAA Tournament Capsules". Sports Illustrated. 2009-03-20. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  3. ^
  4. ^
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Former NBA player Marvin Barnes dies at 62". Associated Press. 8 September 2014. Retrieved 9 September 2014.
  7. ^ Papanek, John (24 October 1977). "This Time The News Is Good". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2013-02-06.
  8. ^ "More Bad News for Marvin Barnes". The Washington Post. 2007-05-15. Retrieved 2009-03-28.
  9. ^ Grossfeld, Stan (2006-01-06). "Good news, bad news". Boston Globe. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  10. ^ McNamara, Kevin (September 8, 2014). "PC basketball great Marvin Barnes dead at 62". Providence Journal. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  11. ^
  12. ^ McNamara, Kevin (2008-03-09). "PC honors 3 of its very best: Walker, Barnes, DiGregorio". Providence Journal. Retrieved 2009-03-28.

External links[edit]