Today is Day 40 of the Omer. Hod sheb’yesod. Righteousness that manifests as humility.
Staying grounded is difficult when fans, coaches, and the media want to hype you up. It would have been easy for Harrison Barnes to lose his sense of humility after leading Ames High School to two undefeated seasons and two Iowa state championships, along with Doug McDermott. It would have been understandable if his ego grew too big when he was tabbed as the best high school player in the nation or when he was named a pre-season All-America at UNC, drawing comparisons to Michael Jordan.
But Harrison Barnes isn’t built like most people. He came from humble beginnings, and has remained grounded due to his strong Christian faith. He didn’t even have a sip of alcohol until the Golden State Warriors won their first NBA title. During this week of yesod, which is connected to the symbol of the tzadik, we want to celebrate high character players and “high character” appears in every scouting report on Harrison Barnes.
Of course, hype leads to high expectations, and compared to those expectations, Barnes has disappointed. Those high expectations have led to harsh criticism from fans who see a talented 6’8” forward and expect Barnes to be an All-Star. Barnes proved in Golden State that he can play an important role on a championship team, but he’ll never live up to the Michael Jordan comparisons. In eight solid, but not spectacular seasons, he has averaged 13.7 points and 4.7 rebounds. The Warriors let Barnes leave and the Dallas Mavericks traded Barnes away mid-game in a salary dump. None of that has broken Barnes, who has earned his nickname “The Senator” for his polite, professional demeanor.
On Day 40, hod sheb’yesod, Harrison Barnes embodies how someone who at their core is truly righteous, is able to remain humble through the highs and lows.
Featured image from Frenchieinportland