Barnes is a gamer on and off the court.
(Stefan Swiat/

If you though Matt Barnes was a good basketball player in reality, you should see him virtually. A truckload of fans gathered around EA Sports’ booth at Jam Session in Phoenix’s Convention Center on Thursday to see the Suns forward as he played EA Sports NBA Live ‘09.

Fans lined up for over an hour to meet and chat with Barnes, who signed autographs, answered questions about his career and even played some video games with his supporters. It provided a great opportunity to meet and interact with one of their favorite players up close.

Fans were also able to see what kinds of skills he has on the controls and what his favorite games are. The former UCLA standout touts Madden, NBA Live and all of the other sports-centric games as his top choices.
“I played them when I was younger and I still play them now as an adult,” he said. “I’m just excited to be here.”

Barnes, who used to choose the Warriors as his home team when he played NBA Live, has since switched over to the Suns. Impressed by the graphics, he believes that the computer-generated Barnes has distinct resemblance to the real Barnes.

“He kind of looks like me,” he said. “It’s amazing compared to when I was younger playing with stick-figures, and now they have the same tattoos, the same facial expressions, the same… pretty much everything. They’re doing a great job with the games.”

However, in Barnes’ opinion, one aspect of the video game was a little different from reality.

“They don’t let me shoot as good as I can in the game, but it’s cool,” he said wryly.

One thing that Barnes has in common with many of the fans who visited with him today is that even though he’s an NBA player, this is his first All-Star experience as well.

“It’s great to bring this kind of thing to Phoenix,” he said. “I’ve never been to All-Star so coming here and seeing all of these kids and all of these fans is pretty amazing.”

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