Now in the middle of the NBA’s FIT Live Healthy Week, the league knew what it was doing when it requested Golden State Warriors rookie Harrison Barnes join the cause.
“He’s one of those guys that have come in early and not only understands basketball, but the business of basketball,” said JoHan Wang, Warriors’ director of athletic performance. “He knows that his body is the most important thing that’s going to help him through his career. With that being said, he’s already started doing a lot of things that I’ve worked with guys that are late in their careers, they don’t start figuring out until their eight, nine, 10 years in the league.
“Which is big because I’ve only worked with a handful of guys that have done that and understand. For a guy that’s come in, he’s already a starter, he’s proven he can play in this league and I’m sure you’ve seen his highlights. He has unbelievable athletic ability, and he’s willing to study the game, so the sky’s the limit for this kid.”
For Barnes, 20, an understanding of the importance of exercise and fitness started as a kid growing up in Ames, Iowa, and craving every moment — when the temperature allowed — to be outdoors and playing a myriad of sports, from basketball to track to soccer and even a little football in middle school.
Such dedication helped him to become the seventh overall pick of the Warriors in the 2012 NBA Draft.
Barnes joins fellow NBA players Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks), Goran Dragic (Phoenix Suns), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Wesley Matthews (Portland Trail Blazers), Chandler Parsons (Houston Rockets), and John Wall (Washington Wizards) in promoting NBA FIT Live Healthy Week.
The week features grassroots programs and events, special on-court apparel and in-arena and online programming designed to inspire kids and families across the country to live active, healthy lives. Throughout the week, NBA and NBA Development League players will wear special on-court attire, including adidas NBA FIT shooting shirts and blue headbands and wristbands.
“Exercise is just an important part of everyday life,” said the 6-foot-8, 210-pound Barnes. “Whether you’re an athlete or not, it’s important. I’m glad the NBA has chosen this initiative to reach out to kids and help them become active and fit and I’m proud to be a part of it.”
You can check out NBA.com/nbafit to get fitness tips from players and trainers, view player workout videos, and check out healthy recipes from celebrity chefs Rachael Ray, Mario Batali, Michael Ferraro, Michael Psilakis, and Dale Talde. Follow @NBACares for special promotions and giveaways throughout the week.
Here’s more of Barnes in his own words:
Q: Growing up what sports did you like to play?
A: As I kid growing up I was really active. I was outdoors a lot during the summers, whether it was playing soccer, whether it was track, basketball, I did a little bit of football, I was just trying to be as active as possible. I did track all the way through high school, I did soccer until I got to middle school and then football when I got to middle school.
Q: What’s your advice to kids, who have so many indoor distractions, to get outdoors and exercise?
A: Just enjoy being active. I grew up in Iowa, so I only had three months to be outside and just really cherished those moments. But people out here in California, they can be outside all the time. Just go be active, whether it’s running around a playground or an organized sport, basketball, football, track, soccer, whatever it is. Just go outside and be active.
Q: You’ve started every game of your first NBA season, something few rookies can say. How would you describe your first season?
A: I think I’ve been playing pretty well. I’m starting on a team that is fifth in the West, so there’s really no complaints. Just want to continue to get better every single day and I continue to do that.
Q: What were your expectations coming into your rookie season?
A: My goals were to come into this team and just contribute and hopefully be part of a team that makes the playoffs. I’ve been able to contribute so far this season, hopefully just continue to get more consistent and hopefully keep our playoff dreams alive.