Matt Barnes: Was His Pro-Am Sucker Punch a Show of Toughness or Immaturity?

Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes was recently video-taped punching a rival player in the face during a summer league pro-am game, which only adds to the growing list of incidents that have kept Barnes' name in the news for reasons other than basketball.

If you don't remember, Barnes was arrested for domestic violence in September while he was recovering from a knee injury, then he was suspended by the NBA in April for shoving a Dallas Mavericks assistant coach to the floor.

Most Lakers fans love the energy and intensity Barnes brings to the team whenever he is in the game, and the Dallas incident can even be forgiven since it resulted from defending a teammate.

However, it's a little harder to excuse Barnes for his earlier indiscretions, especially when you consider that both are of a criminal nature.

I'm not sure why Barnes was arrested for domestic violence in Sacramento, but the charge suggests that he threatened someone in a physically intimidating manner.

What Barnes did in the Bay Area summer league game was flat-out assault, and amazingly officials didn't see it so Barnes was not penalized, and he even went on to eventually hit the game winning shot. reported that when Barnes was questioned about his punch to an opponent's face, his response was that there is only so much a person can take before they react to their emotions.

I can agree with Barnes when he says that everyone has a breaking point, but what separates Barnes from most adults in society is how we choose to react once we reach that critical juncture.

In fact it's plausible to say that same logic is a good way of distinguishing a child from an adult, because in most cases a child is more likely to respond to their emotions with violence.

Hours before Barnes' incident Minnesota Timber Wolves forward Michael Beasley also let his emotions get the better of him when he pushed...

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