PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- Marvin Barnes was arrested early Tuesday
and charged with cocaine possession, the latest legal problem for
the former basketball star who has been battling drug addiction for
Police said they found a bag of cocaine inside an SUV that the
54-year-old Barnes was driving.
Barnes, nicknamed "Bad News" for his off-the-court problems,
was arrested along a highway shoulder in Johnston, said Major
Steven O'Donnell, a state police spokesman.
Two officers approached the Lincoln Navigator before dawn
thinking the car had broken down, O'Donnell said. When Barnes
stepped outside, the troopers spotted what appeared to be a bag of
cocaine inside. A woman riding with Barnes was not arrested.
Barnes, who lives in Providence, was released from custody
Tuesday after promising to seek drug treatment and appear for his
next hearing in Kent County District Court in Warwick, said his
attorney, Richard K. Corley.
Barnes's attorney said the basketball star has decided to take a
temporary leave as president of the nonprofit Rebound Foundation,
which serves disadvantaged children, until his personal problems
are under control.
"Hopefully, he's going to be working on that on a daily basis
between now and the rest of his life, because it's a lifelong
illness that he deals with every day," Corley said.
The arrest was the most recent for the 6-foot-9 forward who led
Providence College to the Final Four in 1973. Philadelphia drafted
him in the first round in 1974, though Barnes instead signed with
the Spirits of St. Louis in the now-defunct American Basketball
Named ABA Rookie of the Year in 1975, Barnes averaged 24.1
points and 13.4 rebounds in his two ABA seasons before the league
folded. He went to the Detroit Pistons in 1976 before bouncing
between the Buffalo Braves, Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers.
His last season in the NBA was in 1980.
Barnes has acknowledged in the past that he was addicted to
cocaine, and said he was trying to recover.
"I'm getting the help I need," Barnes told WPRI-TV during a
brief interview Tuesday. "I'm pretty confident that everything
will turn out OK."
When sentenced in 1990 for stealing videotapes from a San Diego
adult bookstore, Barnes' former lawyer said the basketball star had
been in five different drug treatment programs. He's also been
arrested for trespassing, being under the influence of narcotics
and burglary of a locked vehicle.
"I went from the top to the bottom and I've seen everything in
the middle," Barnes said in a 1994 interview with The Associated
Press. "A couple of times, I thought I was going to die. I know
God's got plans for me because I'm not dead."