Basketball player

Basketball player Tim Barnes gives back to the community

With a desire to build real men on the court and in the community, Tim Barnes managed to pursue his dreams as a professional basketball player overseas and a philanthropist in the United States.

Since last week, Barnes has been training with high school students from his alma mater Southland College Prep. His goal is to give back to the place that started it all for him and helped pave his path to success.

“It’s always important to me to give back to the community,” Barnes said. “Growing up, I didn’t have anyone to look up to who came from the area and did great things. I just want to be that example for the kids and be that guide they can reach out to if they need help.

Recently, Barnes was named the 2022 MVP of the Universal Basketball Union League, in Hamburg, Germany. He became the first player to win the award for his team and the youngest player to win the award since 2015.

Barnes is also committed to helping fund mental health research. He has committed $5,000 of the MVP bonus money to the cause and believes mental health is an issue that many people struggle with but “don’t say anything about.”

“People will forget everything I’ve done, but they won’t forget how I made them feel. That’s what I focus on,” Barnes said via ABC7.

In addition to his community support, Barnes, a graduate of Beloit College, credits much of his basketball success to his Southland roots.

“I will never be able to fully repay everything they gave me,” Barnes said.

Southland athletic director Homer Thomas said he saw the impact of Barnes’ investment on the students.

“He really cares about the kids and he knows the game,” Thomas said. “He’s a professional and the kids listen to him. They can relate to him because he’s from here.

In 2020, Barnes established a scholarship fund; one award is given annually to a Southland student-athlete.

The 2016 graduate and alumnus bought uniforms for the boys’ varsity basketball team and [one day] came from Armenia, where he was playing at the time, to support the team in their first home game at their new stadium.

“It’s a great thing for me to see the growth and the progress,” Barnes said. “It’s great to see how invested the school is in the students, both athletically and academically.”

Last season in Germany, Barnes led the league with eight 30-plus-point games, three 40-plus-point games and a career-high 45-point performance.

This summer, the five-foot-nine, 140-pound guard from Matteson, IL, is chasing his NBA dream. He trained with the Indiana Pacers, Los Angeles Clippers and New York Knicks.

Joseph Phillips is the sports editor of the Chicago Crusader Newspaper. He is originally from Chicago and has been a sports journalist for over 17 years. He also hosts the SC Media News and Sports Network Q&A radio show on WHPK 88.5 FM Chicago.