Kings' Harrison Barnes shares funny origin of 'Black Falcon' nickname

Kings' Harrison Barnes shares funny origin of 'Black Falcon' nickname

If you know Harrison Barnes as "The Black Falcon," the Kings forward is a bit bewildered as to why.

That's what happens when you give yourself a nickname largely as a joke, as Barnes revealed to Howard Beck "The Full 48" podcast last week.

“It was funny, I was a huge Kobe (Bryant) fan, as so many people were, and he was always known as the 'Black Mamba,' " Barnes recalled (H/T Sactown Royalty). (Michael Jordan) was his favorite player, MJ was the Black Cat. So we were in New York my senior year (of high school) getting ready for Elite 24, and I was with (then-ESPN anchors) Mike Hill and Jay Harris, and we were just talking, talking about just different nicknames. We came up with that one, and I was like, 'Oh, okay.' ...

"... So I jokingly said that and when I got to [the University of North Carolina,] like one of my first days on campus, I saw this magazine that was like ‘The Black Falcon’ and it had a picture of me. I was like, 'Oh man, this nickname’s gonna stick for a while,' and it’s been around ever since. I mean, I don’t use it or do much with it, but it’s around.”

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Barnes' nickname was in far more regular rotation during his time with the Warriors, and he told the team website in 2013 he hoped to be nicknamed after an animal a la Bryant and Jordan. The moniker didn't stick around, nor did Barnes stay put with Golden State. He joined the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent in 2016 when the Warriors signed Kevin Durant, and the Mavericks traded Barnes to the Kings ahead of last year's trade deadline.

Sacramento's Twitter account only referred to Barnes as "Black Falcon" once, on the day he officially joined the team.

[RELATED: Barnes wants chance for Kings to make playoffs upon restart]

Barnes also picked up the nickname "The Senator" from Warriors broadcaster Jim Barnett, and he has expressed interest in heading into politics after his playing days are over. Former Warriors teammate asked Andrew Bogut during a Twitter Q&A if "The Black Falcon" moniker would follow him to Capitol Hill.

If the NBA season resumes and the Kings return to the court, the more pressing question is if the nickname will even follow him to Orlando.

Kings' Luke Walton brought seven pounds of coffee to Orlando bubble

Kings' Luke Walton brought seven pounds of coffee to Orlando bubble

Always come prepared.

For an NBA player, an XBox 1 or PS4 are high on the list of "must bring" items for the extended stay in the NBA's Orlando bubble. Players have their priorities, but so do coaches.

According to Kings head coach Luke Walton, he packed the usual stack of clothing items and basic necessities, but he also had a full carry on filled with a luxury item.

"The strangest thing I brought that I'm happy I brought now is I dedicated a whole carry-on bag to my coffee," Walton said. "Which is seven pounds of coffee beans, my coffee grinder, I've got a French press in my room. I knew we were going to be quarantined, so I couldn't trust whatever was going to be in my room."

[RELATED: Four member of Kings' traveling party stayed behind]

One could imagine bringing your own varieties of Kuerig pods, but Walton has not officially upped his game. Hopefully he has more than some powdered creamer and a flimsy stir straw to work with as he settles in for the long hall at The Yacht Club.

Four Kings' traveling party members didn't fly to NBA's Orlando bubble

Four Kings' traveling party members didn't fly to NBA's Orlando bubble

The Sacramento Kings are short-handed in Orlando.

On the first day they are allowed to practice as a team, coach Luke Walton confirmed that none of the three players who tested positive for the coronavirus have traveled with the team and a fourth unidentified member of the traveling party missed the team flight as well.

“We’re still in the protocol,” Walton told the media during a Zoom call following practice on Friday. “From our traveling party, I’m not going to get into names, I’ll make that a personal decision, but from the travel party, out of the 35, we left four people back. From those four, nobody has passed NBA protocol yet to rejoin us, but we are hopeful that some of them are getting close.”

We know that three of the four are Buddy Hield, Alex Len and Jabari Parker, all three of which are confirmed to have tested positive around the June 23 mark.

“There could be a week, there could be a hey, someone doesn’t come at all,” Walton added. “It’s just the reality of what it is. I’m very open to our team about that.”

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It’s a tough situation. If Hield can’t make it back in time to play, the Kings are without their second leading scorer and one of the better 3-point shooters in the game.

Len provided a massive lift to the team as a defensive roadblock in the middle of the key. His skill set could really come in handy against players like Zion Williamson. Parker wasn’t in the rotation, but with so much uncertainty regarding the coronavirus, there could be a time where his ability to score the ball could come into play for the Kings.

“The mindset is that we’re going to embrace all of it,” Walton said. “We know that it’s going to be crazy. People are going to join us. Maybe they won’t. Maybe there are people that are here that test positive at some point. Every team has to go through this, so we’ve got to be ready to accept what our roles are. Our roles are going to change as this thing goes and the teams that can do that most efficiently I think are going to give themselves a big advantage.”

The Kings, like the other 21 teams in the bubble, have to prepare for as many variables as possible. In the meantime, the players are communicating with teammates back in Sacramento with the hopes that reinforcements are on their way.

[RELATED: Kings react to Orlando arrival]

“It’s a troubling time, a lot of unknowns and things like that, but we’ve definitely been in contact with those guys and always let their voice be heard in the group,” Richaun Holmes said. “We just want them to get healthy. Get as healthy as possible and make sure everything is good with them and their families and then when they get down here, be ready to rock and roll.”

Sacramento has another practice session on Saturday, which will be another limited contact practice as Walton and his staff slowly build towards scrimmage games beginning on July 22. It will be a quick ramp up with the Kings playing their first official game on July 31 against the San Antonio Spurs.