"Bad News"

The Turbulent Life of Marvin Barnes, Pro Basketball's Original Renegade

Foreword by Bob Costas
LIST PRICE $22.99

About The Book

Marvin “Bad News” Barnes was considered a future Hall of Fame basketball player before he even graduated from college. A standout at Providence College, where he averaged 20.7 points and 17.9 rebounds per game, he was an All-American with the world at his fingertips.

Although Barnes enjoyed two highly successful years in the American Basketball Association with the Spirits of St. Louis (winning Rookie of the Year honors and twice being named an All-Star), his career fizzled in the NBA as he wore out his welcome with the Detroit Pistons, Buffalo Braves, Boston Celtics, and San Diego Clippers in four years. His immaturity, as well as a chronic losing battle with drugs and alcohol, turned a potential superstar into a has-been by 1979. By then, his swagger was gone. So too was his game.

Written by Mike Carey, who opened his house to Barnes later in his life, this is the story of a supremely gifted athlete whose self-destructive nature led to him living on the mean streets of East San Diego for three years as a panhandler and pimp. Eventually he would serve a total of five years in prison for various felony charges, including the sale of cocaine.
Throughout his life, every time it appeared that “Bad News” had turned the corner, his demons reappeared and succeeded in luring him back into becoming a conniving dope fiend.

On September 8, 2014, Barnes finally hit rock bottom, passing away due to acute cocaine and heroin intoxication. He was sixty-two years old.

With stories and quotes from Julius Erving, Bill Walton, Larry Brown, Mike D’Antoni, and many others who crossed paths with Barnes, as well as a foreword from former Spirits announcer Bob Costas, “Bad News” is the story of a squandered talent who could never defeat his inner demons.

Product Details

  • Publisher: Sports Publishing (October 2, 2018)
  • Length: 264 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781683582670

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Raves and Reviews

"Brutally honest, tragic, and fascinating, Carey’s grim cautionary tale exposes the highs and lows of the complex basketball superstar."
Publishers Weekly

“So here's the happiest, saddest, craziest basketball tale you're going to read for a long, long time. Marvin Barnes worked at a different syncopation from the rest of us, candle always lit at both ends, heart beating to its own rhythm. Nobody—absolutely nobody—was closer to him on his many travels than Mike Carey. Lucky for us, Mike Carey can write like a demon. This is a terrific book.”
—Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of Ted Williams and The Big Bam

“Mike Carey captures the essence of Barnes in an interesting read. Marvin's talent was limitless but so were his demons. “Bad News” is a very insightful book about one of the most gifted players of his day.”
—Mike D’Antoni, Former Spirits teammate and longtime NBA head coach

“Bad News” is an exceptional and memorable read. Carey, one of our country’s sports writing treasures, has masterfully recounted a classic cautionary tale.”
—Dan Forer, Emmy award-winning producer of ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Free Spirits

“Bad News” should be a must-read for every sports fan. It’s the story of a supremely gifted pro basketball player who gained fame and riches at a young age, only to lose all his self-respect and his entire fortune in a few short years due to a self-destructive nature and addictions to cocaine and heroin.
The book chronicles the many years Barnes spent in prison, his humiliating struggle to survive as a homeless person, and the events that led to his death of a drug overdose at the age of sixty-two. Poignantly written by Mike Carey, the book should serve as a warning to today’s athletes and those to come.”
—M. L. Carr, former Celtics president and a teammate of Barnes in St. Louis and Detroit

"Mike Carey didn't simply research the story of the talented and troubled Marvin Barnes. Carey saw it firsthand for nearly forty years. The result is a compelling look at a mercurial life."
—Buck Harvey, San Antonio Express

"Carey captures it all. Barnes’ floppy hats, his leather bells, his parading around town with the most gorgeous women in his silver, glistening Rolls-Royce with a red mobile phone long before ANYONE had a mobile phone. He goes back to the beginning and takes you through a ride in that Rolls. It’s a ride that is exciting and astonishing but incredibly predictable and ultimately sad."
—Terry Lyons, Digital Sports Desk

"Brutally honest, tragic, and fascinating, Carey’s grim cautionary tale exposes the highs and lows of the complex basketball superstar."
—Publishers Weekly

“So here's the happiest, saddest, craziest basketball tale you're going to read for a long, long time. Marvin Barnes worked at a different syncopation from the rest of us, candle always lit at both ends, heart beating to its own rhythm. Nobody—absolutely nobody—was closer to him on his many travels than Mike Carey. Lucky for us, Mike Carey can write like a demon. This is a terrific book.”
—Leigh Montville, New York Times bestselling author of Ted Williams and The Big Bam

“Mike Carey captures the essence of Barnes in an interesting read. Marvin's talent was limitless but so were his demons. “Bad News” is a very insightful book about one of the most gifted players of his day.”
—Mike D’Antoni, Former Spirits teammate and longtime NBA head coach

““Bad News” is an exceptional and memorable read. Carey, one of our country’s sports writing treasures, has masterfully recounted a classic cautionary tale.”
—Dan Forer, Emmy award-winning producer of ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, Free Spirits

““Bad News” should be a must-read for every sports fan. It’s the story of a supremely gifted pro basketball player who gained fame and riches at a young age, only to lose all his self-respect and his entire fortune in a few short years due to a self-destructive nature and addictions to cocaine and heroin.
The book chronicles the many years Barnes spent in prison, his humiliating struggle to survive as a homeless person, and the events that led to his death of a drug overdose at the age of sixty-two. Poignantly written by Mike Carey, the book should serve as a warning to today’s athletes and those to come.”
—M. L. Carr, former Celtics president and a teammate of Barnes in St. Louis and Detroit

"Mike Carey didn't simply research the story of the talented and troubled Marvin Barnes. Carey saw it firsthand for nearly forty years. The result is a compelling look at a mercurial life."
—Buck Harvey, San Antonio Express

"Carey captures it all. Barnes’ floppy hats, his leather bells, his parading around town with the most gorgeous women in his silver, glistening Rolls-Royce with a red mobile phone long before ANYONE had a mobile phone. He goes back to the beginning and takes you through a ride in that Rolls. It’s a ride that is exciting and astonishing but incredibly predictable and ultimately sad."
—Terry Lyons, Digital Sports Desk

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