One of the more entertaining subplots of the Sacramento Kings’ resurgence in the weeks before the league was suspended has been the status of Harrison Barnes’ beard.
In December, Barnes decided that he wasn’t going to shave until the Kings got back to .500, and he explained the thought process behind that decision to his fellow Tar Heel Danny Green on an episode of “Inside the Green Room”:
“So we were 12-15, we were on a road trip and the momentum was good. The guys were like, ‘Yo, we got a barber in Indiana and I was like, ‘Nah, I’m not gonna getting it cut until we get to .500.’ And they were like, ‘Nah, there’s no way he’s serious.’ And I’m like, ‘Yeah, we three games under,’ at the time. We had Indiana, Memphis and Houston, right? It was going to be a hard three-game trip, but I believed in us that we could do it. And then when I said that, that’s when things went south.
“We lost three straight, things got a little dicey, but we started to play well before this hiatus. Depending on what the NBA decides to do, hopefully we’ll have enough games to even get there, but as long as we’re playing again, that’s all that matters.”
As Barnes notes, Sacramento went through a rough stretch immediately after his pledge, losing eight straight. The Kings fell all the way to 15-29 on Jan. 22, a full 14 games under .500, before going 13-7 in their last 20 games. That means the Kings are still eight games away from Barnes’ goal.
Even though there has been a league stoppage, Barnes remains committed to his project. He has not shaved since he started growing out his beard, and he hasn’t even trimmed it or gotten it touched up.
“Nah, I just had a tremendous amount of confidence in my squad that I was like, ‘I’m not getting no line up,’ because I didn’t think it was going to be that long … the whiskers are out, man.”
Barnes did say that he has familiarized himself with beard oils and he now has a beard comb to manage his facial hair, but the beard will continue growing until the Kings get back to .500 or the season is canceled.
It’s an impressive commitment, given that Barnes is the first to admit that his beard isn’t exactly aesthetically pleasing. When asked if he had reached out to James Harden for grooming tips, Barnes said he wasn’t close to being on that level, that he’s still in the “patchy” stage.
Kudos to Barnes for seeing out this promise, and kudos to his wife for putting up with what has to be an uncomfortable situation. Hopefully, Barnes and the Kings get a chance to finish out the regular season on a high note so he earns a satisfying shave.