Skip to main content

The Legend of Marvin 'Bad News' Barnes notorious for his off-court scandals

barnesss

His nickname, "Bad News" tells you all you need to know about Marvin Barnes. Marvin was an unbelievably talented and gifted athlete, but also a very poor decision-maker. Notorious for his off-court scandals, which ultimately affected his basketball game.

Marvin was a man of Providence. Born and raised, in Providence, Barnes would stay to play college ball at Providence College where he had a phenomenal career averaging 20.7 points, 17.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists over the four years. His college performances were so promising that the 76ers decided to draft him as the 2nd overall pick of the 1974 NBA draft, behind Bill Walton. Barnes ended up picking the Spirits of St. Louis and played in ABA for several years before switching back to the NBA.

Unfortunately, following frequent off-court issues, his pro career started to deteriorate slowly. He played in 9 different teams from 1974–1986 and never seemed to find his place under the sun.

You'll find countless fascinating stories about Barnes in "Loose Balls" a book by Terry Pluto. We cherry-picked the best anecdotes, so without further ado, here are some of his most unbelievable off-court stories.

It all started at Central High School in Providence Rhode Island, where he was a part of a gang that attempted to rob a bus!?!

Scroll to Continue

Recommended Articles

Barnes once robbed a liquor store in broad daylight. If being 6’9″ didn’t make Barnes stick out enough, the fact that he was wearing a jersey with his name on the back was the clincher.

He once missed the team flight, chartered a plane, insisted the team pay the pilot, then walked into the locker room minutes before tipoff carrying a bag of hamburgers and wearing a mink coat over his uniform. He finished with 44 points that night.

One time, the Spirits were getting set to depart on a flight from Louisville at 8:00 AM that would get into St. Louis at 7:56 AM. After one look at his ticket, Barnes said “I ain’t gettin’ on no time machine,” and rented a car for the trip home.

Marvin once said,

I’m a basketball player, not a monk. I play the women, I play clothes, I play cars, I play everything I can play. There are players and there are playees. The playees are the ones who get played by the players. I am a player.

The basketball legend died at the age of 62, back where it all started, in Providence.

Milwaukee Bucks forward Khris Middleton, guard Jrue Holiday, and forward Giannis Antetokounmpo

The Milwaukee Bucks to host youth programs as part of the NBA Abu Dhabi Games

Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks will be the first NBA teams to play in Abu Dhabi

Phoenix Suns' forward Jae Crowder defending Chicago Bulls' star DeMar DeRozan

Can the Chicago Bulls make a trade for disgruntled Phoenix Suns forward Jae Crowder?

Find out if the Chicago Bulls can acquire disgruntled Phoenix Suns small forward, Jae Crowder.

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan with Lonzo Ball

Chicago Bulls head coach Billy Donovan bracing for the entire season without Lonzo Ball

The Bulls are preparing themselves to be competitive while they wait on the health of starting guard Lonzo Ball. Here's what their head coach had to say about the matter.

Dallas Mavericks head coach Jason Kidd

"You can't say, 'This is the way I would do it'" — Jason Kidd explains why he never forced his players to emulate his playing style

Kidd's experience on the Lakers coaching staff has proven to be extrememly valuable in his evolution as a coach.

Houston Rockets center Hakeem Olajuwon

Greg Anthony singles out the most underrated part of Hakeem Olajuwon's on-court skillset

Everyone praises Hakeem's footwork. Greg Anthony praised his God-given instincts for the game.

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham and general manager Rob Pelinka

How the Los Angeles Lakers could take advantage of the NBA's new rule

The new NBA rule could benefit the Lakers if they implement a run-and-gun system.

North Carolina Tar Heels guard Michael Jordan

“No one knew me until then” — Michael Jordan revealed the most satisfying time of his basketball career

Michael Jordan will never forget his time in North Carolina because of the pressure he had to conquer to make a name for himself.