Harrison Barnes learned his lesson. It’s pretty simple, when you play for a team that has missed the playoffs 14 consecutive seasons, you don’t make a ‘.500 or bust’ bet with your facial hair.
It seemed like a simple wager. The Kings were sitting at 12-14 last season and looking forward to a three-game road trip to Charlotte, Indiana and Memphis. Barnes committed to not shaving until the Kings reached the .500 mark, but then things went haywire.
Sacramento lost all three games on the road and then five more to fall 10 games under .500 at 12-22. The .500 or bust beard eventually turned into a playoff or bust beard. Neither events happened, but a global pandemic did.
Barnes, who is the ultimate professional, was forced to go 250 days without shaving due to the bet. When the Kings were finally eliminated from the Orlando bubble, the 28-year-old forward partnered with Schick Hydro and finally got trimmed down to a goatee.
With the Kings sitting just two games under .500, Barnes was asked whether he was willing to make a similar wager following Sacramento's 126-124 victory over the Toronto Raptors on Friday. Clearly the veteran has learned from his mistake.
“Absolutely not,” Barnes said while laughing through a Kings’ logoed mask. “We’re playing some good basketball. We’re just going to keep it at that right now. No playoff-push beards yet.”
The key word in that statement is “yet.” We’ll check back in if the Kings are in contention later in the season.
Barnes is a good sport, but the Kings are currently 8-10 on the season and on the outside looking in of the playoff chase. While they have strung together three straight wins, Barnes learned how difficult it is to get over the hump in the Western Conference.