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.”
[PURPLE TALK PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]
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.
The Black Falcon has landed 😈 pic.twitter.com/SrJ60GbwYe— Sacramento Kings (@SacramentoKings) February 8, 2019
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.