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Warriors forward Harrison Barnes is paying it forward

Sep 6, 2013, 12:57 PM PDT

USA Today Sports

Harrison Barnes is an NBA forward that’s paying it forward.

The Golden State Warriors’ first-round pick last season has emerged as one of the league’s top rookies, but he hasn’t forgotten what helped make him an up-and-coming star. Prior to embarking on his second season with the Warriors, Barnes spent some time at Boys & Girls Club of Oakland, where he donated backpacks and school supplies to 85 students.

The alumnus of the Boys & Girls Club of Ames, Iowa, made the visit to reward members of the Harrison Barnes Summer Enrichment Program in the Bay Area. Barnes started the program to motivate kids to take their education seriously.

“I know I was in their shoes a long time ago,” Barnes said. “I remember people used to come, they used to give me free backpacks, and I used to get free school supplies and stuff like that, and it really did make a difference.”

In addition to the school supplies, Barnes bought 15 Golden State Warriors season ticket packages, so he could give out rewards to some of the top children that participate in the Boys & Girls Club throughout the Bay Area.

Barnes, 21, averaged 9.2 points-per-game and 4.1 rebounds-per-game en route to being named to the 2012-13 NBA All-Rookie First Team. But he would rather see the kids that look up to him admire his 3.6 GPA at Ames High School, or how he had accumulated enough college credits while there to enter the University of North Carolina as a sophomore.

While his basketball skills made him one of the top high school recruits in the country, the fact that he was a good student and a well-rounded individual upped his value. He was so sought after that when he went on a recruiting trip to UNC, he was even granted an audience with Michael Jordan, his childhood hero.

Now in the NBA, Barnes is in a position to give back and be a hero to the kids that watch him play. Warriors fans have every reason to be excited about this guy. He possesses the perfect blend of talent, smarts, and respect.

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