Raptors' Scottie Barnes opens up about goals, friendships, and game day fits

Jan 31 2023, 3:35 pm

The vibes couldn’t have been much better when Toronto Raptors forward Scottie Barnes finished his first NBA season.

Turning his public perception around from a draft selection that surprised many fans at fourth overall to a Rookie of The Year campaign, Barnes was flying high as maybe Canada’s most universally-liked athlete by the end of year one.

Year two hasn’t gone quite as smoothly.

At 23-29, the Raptors currently sit at 12th in the Eastern Conference, with trade rumours swirling around seemingly every player on the floor — except for Barnes.

It’s a far cry from the organization’s days as one of the NBA’s most competitive franchises year-in and year-out.

But for Barnes, he’s still enjoying coming to the court every day, and looking to prove both his own game and his team’s abilities to the rest of the league.

“I feel like it’s fun,” Barnes said of playing in a tight Eastern Conference in an exclusive interview with Daily Hive conducted earlier this season. “It’s really fun to play with competition. I love it. I embrace it. I’m a very competitive person, I embrace it and I feel like our team embraces that.”

Of late, Barnes has very much looked like the star player many imagined he’d be, as he’s averaged 18.1 points, 7.4 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 16 games this month, one of the best stretches of his NBA career.

He credited Raptors head coach Nick Nurse’s trust for allowing him to continue his growth on the offensive end of the floor.

“I feel like Nick Nurse allows us to play with a lot of freedom,” Barnes said. “He allows us to play in a free offence where we’re able to showcase our abilities and what we can do. I feel like that goes for every player. As a player, that’s a great thing to be able to have to be able to know that you can go out there every night and be able to play free.”

Barnes said it took him about 30-40 games in his rookie season before he felt like he found his proper day-to-day routine.

“Once you find a routine, I feel like everything just goes on smoothly,” he admitted. “But it’s about being able to find that routine and being able to try to stick with every single day and not being able to get pushed off that routine. Because once you get pushed off the routine and things change, you question what’s happening. But as long as you try to get back to that routine, you know you’ll be fine.”

Like many of us, Barnes has dreamt of playing with the game’s all-time greats. And if he had to pick four players to suit up with? Well, it’s quite the combo of talent.

Barnes’ all-time starting five:

  • C: Shaquille O’Neal
  • PF: Tim Duncan
  • SF: Scottie Barnes
  • SG: Kobe Bryant
  • PG: LeBron James

And like most NBA players, Barnes finds himself expressing himself through his game-day outfits.

“Two hours before [I leave for] the game I just go through my closet. I’ll just try different stuff, see how it looks and how it how it fits,” Barnes said. “I’ll probably call people some people to get their opinions on what outfit looks like. But it’s mostly just me.”

Another added component of Barnes’ NBA career has been his growing list of endorsement deals since he first stepped on the floor.

Barnes is launching his latest partnership today with Bitbuy, the same Canadian-based cryptocurrency marketplace that featured Raptors legend Kyle Lowry in a series of their commercials.

“I feel like it really fits how my personality is. I feel like I’m a fun type [of] person and being able to show my emotions what I can do… I feel it’s like a perfect fit,” Barnes said of joining Bitbuy.

Here’s an exclusive look at Barnes’ first commercial with Bitbuy, set to reach air this week:

“The idea for partnering with Scottie Barnes came after reading an article back in April 2022 that described him as more than just a great basketball player. He was the Raptors ‘resident hugger’ and team motivator.  Combine this with how personable and relatable he is, we knew he was the perfect fit for Bitbuy,” said Binu Koshy, Bitbuy’s branding and communications director.
While Barnes is known for showcasing his personality wherever he goes, one of his teammates — O.G. Anunoby — is infamously reserved. When asked about a surprising fact about Anunoby, Barnes replied that he’s actually quite into electronic dance music, more commonly known as EDM.

“He listens to all types of music,” Barnes said. “He’ll listen to rock, he’ll listen to pop, he’ll listen to rap… he’ll listen to every single genre. He works out to EDM music. When we’re all in the gym, he wants to play that. I feel like that’s kinda weird, but we love O.G. We really embrace him for who he is.”

As for what he’s listening to himself? Barnes seemed a little embarrassed to answer, but the last song he had queued up was by female rap artist GloRilla.

“It’s a great vibe,” Barnes admitted. “I feel like I really love her music. You know, she allows me to turn up…”

While he’s taken a jump on and off the court this season, Barnes still has his sights set on making the NBA All-Star game as a way to truly solidify himself as one of the game’s top players.

As for a specific timeline on when he’s hoping to do that? He’ll keep you posted.

“I don’t know. We’ll see,” Barnes said with a smile. “We’ll just see.”

Adam LaskarisAdam Laskaris

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