Matt Barnes finally got the win he had been waiting years to get.
Four years ago, Barnes, a member of the last year’s Golden State Warriors NBA championship team, put together a celebrity team to take on rapper Snoop Dogg’s all-star squad in a flag-football game titled Athletes vs. Cancer.
Snoop Dogg’s squad won the first three years and met Barnes on Sunday at Burroughs High’s Memorial Field for the fourth game.
Thanks to former NFL quarterback Jeff Garcia switching from Snoop Dogg’s team to Barnes’ in the fourth quarter and suspicious officiating, Barnes’ team pulled off a come-from-behind 43-42 win.
“I don’t know if they let us win, but we’ll take it,” Barnes said. “It was all for a great cause.”
Athletes vs. Cancer was founded by Barnes in honor of his mother, Ann Catherine Barnes, who died of cancer in November of 2007. The non-profit organization has provided support for individuals and families who have been affected by cancer by offering financial grants to pay for medical bills, treatments and medication.
Barnes plans to award academic scholarships to high schoolers who have lost a parent to cancer.
“We’re here to support Matt,” said Warriors All-Star Draymond Green, who didn’t play, but was joined by NBA teammate Kevin Durant on the sidelines. “That’s our guy. That’s our brother.”
A number of other high-profile stars played on both sides to support Barnes and his cause.
Aaron Gordon, who won the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2016, took home most valuable player honors despite playing for Snoop Dogg’s squad.
“[This MVP trophy] is right up there with the dunk contest one,” Gordon said with a light-hearted smile.
Gordon – who mentioned the last time he played football was in middle school, when he was a running back -- said before the game that there would be plenty of trash talking on the field and the celebrities wouldn’t mind.
“We get in trouble and get technical fouls for talking trash on the basketball court, but tonight there will be no fines,” Barnes said.
Jordan Clarkson of the Los Angeles Lakers added: “It’s going to be different here with the trash talk.”
Once the eight-on-eight game – which had two 12-minute quarters and a pair of 15-minute frames with a running clock – started, Garcia took the helm of Snoop Dogg’s team and former NFL quarterback Akili Smith was the signal-caller for Barnes’ team.
“We’re here to have fun and win,” Smith said.
Smith and Garcia each threw two first-half touchdowns, and Smith connected with Los Angeles Clippers center DeAndre Jordan for an extra point in the second quarter.
“I just want to thank my hands for being so great,” said Jordan as he signed autographs. “I’m just carrying my team.”
Garcia led his team to a 36-21 advantage at the start of the fourth quarter before replacing Smith, who took himself out of the game because of a hip injury.
Garcia threw two touchdown passes to retake the lead for Barnes. He proceeded to throw a touchdown for Snoop Dogg’s team with five seconds left to take the lead. The referees decided to put one second on the clock and Garcia threw a touchdown pass to Jason Black – Snoop Dogg’s nephew – for the final score.
“I got to help both sides,” Garcia said. “I hope to come back. These are great guys. This is a great event.”