How music fired me up before games: with former NBA guard & current analyst, Brent Barry

It’s NBA All-Star weekend in New Orleans. Current NBA TV analyst and former player (& 2X champion) Brent Barry, played for six different teams over the course of his 15 year career. Though his uniform and settings changed, his heavy dose of preparation did not. One area that was particularly important (and still is) was the companionship of the right music.

New breakthrough music was everywhere in Barry’s professional years throughout the 90’s in Seattle and Los Angeles. Seattle particularly resonated with Barry as it offered some honest and hard-hitting Rock n’ Roll. Eventually, Barry would strike up a friendship with Pearl Jam’s bassist, Jeff Ament.

During an interview last year, honoring 25 years of Pearl Jam, Barry explained to me how Pearl Jam’s music was a crucial element to his preparation, minutes before tip-off:

“During my playing days in Seattle, I would break out of the team meeting and step into a small weight room adjacent to the team’s locker room. The weight training coach and his assistant would be standing by a small stereo component system and when I walked into the room, I would turn off the lights and they would hit play. I would marinate in the opening thunderous drums and wait for Mike McCready to hit the opening riffs. I would then be in a good place to go and do my job for the night. If this wouldn’t get you ready for an NBA basketball game I’m not sure what would.

Jeff Ament, some of his friends and I have been friends for many years and I have been very fortunate to share some incredible experiences that mean the world to me. I tell him that often. They have spanned times of great joy for me and times of great personal growth as well. Accompanying his friendship, there has been more strengthening of an intimate relationship that I have had with the band and their music that has endured.”

~Brent Barry

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~Feature in collaboration with/produced by: Jeff Gorra

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