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Matt Barnes releases T-shirts immediately after ejection in Lakers' testy victory over Dallas

April 1, 2011 |  2:31 pm

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Should the Lakers' Matt Barnes earn a suspension for his ejection in the Lakers' 110-82 victory Thursday over the Dallas Mavericks, there might be a way he can offset the lost salary.

Perhaps entering the fray between Jason Terry and Steve Blake will help spark a buzz regarding his newly released T-shirts. Barnes, a co-owner of Elusion Clothing, touted two items as soon as midnight struck, one shirt reading, "Matt Barnes Will Kill You, If Ron Artest Doesn't First." The other one touts the "Killah Bees" the nickname bestowed on Barnes, Blake and Shannon Brown, all three of which interestingly enough drew ejections against Dallas.

It's highly unlikely that Terry would be one of those paying customers, considering that Blake jawed with him after he was pushed out-of-bounds, Barnes threw in a push after the altercation and he told ESPN Radio's Colin Cowherd that Barnes is "as soft as Charmin toilet paper." But here's betting the Lakers will begin wearing Barnes' T-shirts during practice.

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Everyone ranging from Phil Jackson, Kobe Bryant and Lamar Odom touted the toughness that Barnes bestowed during the Lakers-Mavericks game, arguing it's that kind of physical presence and support the team needs as the postseason approaches. The Barnes-Artest T-shirt is over the top. No matter how physical the two are on the basketball court, Barnes and Artest aren't exactly serial killers. But the symbolic message comes at the right time.

Pinning the Lakers as soft is overblown, clichéd and inaccurate ever since the Lakers won the 2009 NBA Finals. But there's a clear difference between standing up and absorbing physical blows to being the ones who deliver them. As much as Barnes warrants some kind of suspension and as much as it might hurt the Lakers in the short-term, the big-picture implications in shaping the team's identity can't be overstated. Besides even if Barnes remains absent from the lineup in Friday's game against Utah, the identity will be forged with the new shirts and the lost revenue will be offset in sales. 

-- Mark Medina

email the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo credit: Elusion Clothing


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