Veteran small forward Matt Barnes defended Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James from haters on social media and elsewhere, saying “people must sit back and realize they’re witnessing history”. The 37-year-old Barnes made the statement on FOX Sports 1’s “Undisputed” when asked about James and the hate that he’s been receiving. The statement came as a surprise since Barnes and James have battled several times in the past, most recently in the NBA Finals where the Golden State Warriors prevailed over the Cavaliers in five games.

Despite their rivalry, Barnes gave LeBron the respect and admiration he deserves as the best player in the league today, unlike the people who express their hate over the Cavaliers superstar on social media. Barnes also gave his two cents worth about social media, which he described as a platform to express an opinion but sometimes, it is used to propagate hate to other people. “We live in a world where it’s OK to hate. We give people without a voice, on social media, a voice and a platform to express their opinion,” Barnes said.

Barnes split time with Kings, Warriors

After he was waived by the Sacramento Kings in February, Barnes returned to the Warriors and signed a deal for the rest of the season. The Warriors brought in Barnes as a possible backup after Kevin Durant suffered a knee injury late in the season. Barnes’ return to the Bay Area came 10 years after he helped the Warriors stun the 67-win Dallas Mavericks in the first round of 2007 playoffs.

The return to the Bay Area was an emotional one for Barnes, who said that the Warriors were the last team his mother saw him play on before she died from cancer.

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The Kings waived Barnes after acquiring Tyreke Evans, Buddy Hield and Langston Galloway from the New Orleans Pelicans in the DeMarcus Cousins trade. A second-round pick by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002, Barnes played for the Los Angeles Clippers, Kings, New York Knicks, Grizzlies, Philadelphia 76ers, Warriors, Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic and Los Angeles Lakers. He is currently a free agent.

Barnes recently pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct

Recently, Barnes entered a guilty plea to disorderly conduct for his role in a December brawl at a New York City nightclub.

With the plea deal, Barnes was handed a punishment of 10 days of community service. It was reported that Barnes allegedly strangled Jasmine Besiso and assaulted Myrone Powell during a Dec. 5 incident at Avenue New York. Cousins was also at the club that night but was cleared of any wrongdoing. While he escaped the criminal aspect of the case, Barnes was named in a civil lawsuit related to the brawl together with Cousins.

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