Jim Barnett moved to Riverside in 1954 at the age of ten. His father, Frank, was stationed at March Air Force Base. Jim enjoyed playing all sports while growing up and participated in Riverside ’s Little league, Pony League, and Colt League programs. “I always tell people that I came from a baseball town. Several Ramona baseball players signed professional contracts during my three years in high school.”
Jim played basketball on the “B” team as a sophomore, standing 5’ 9” and weighing 124 pounds. “My goal was to make the jayvee team as a junior and possibly make the varsity as a senior where I would be happy to just sit on the bench.” Jim’s coach, Tom Williams, recognized his potential and made him into an All CBL performer as a junior and senior, as well as an All CIF player his senior year. Jim had many scholarship offers after graduation, but decided to attend the University of Oregon . “ I was afraid to go to UCLA because I thought I might not get a chance to play. And I wanted the opportunity to play as a sophomore as well.” When Jim graduated in 1966 he had become an All American and had set a new school scoring record at Oregon.
Jim played in the East/West College All Star Game in Lexington , Kentucky where he led the West in scoring. “That was the game that got the NBA scouts’ attention.” The Boston Celtics drafted him in the first round of the 1966 draft. “The Celtics had won eight consecutive NBA titles, Bill Russell became their player/coach, and I was able to play alongside some of the greatest players in NBA history my rookie year.” The NBA had only ten teams in 1966 and would grow to twenty-three by the time Jim finished his career after eleven seasons. Jim also played with the San Diego Rockets, Portland Blazers, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Jazz, New York Knicks, and the Philadelphia 76ers. His best season came in 1970-71 when he averaged 18.5 ppg with the Blazers. While never winning an NBA Championship, Jim played in the playoffs with four teams, making the NBA Finals one time.
After basketball retirement Jim went into the advertising and sales promotion business where success also followed. “I have been very fortunate to have had mentors point me in the right direction, starting with Tom Williams at Ramona. Of course you have to work hard, have determination, set goals, and always be true to yourself.”
For the past twenty years Jim has been the television analyst on all Golden State Warriors broadcasts. “I kind of fell into that while I was still playing in the NBA and I actually think I’m a better broadcaster than I was a player in the NBA.”
Jim lives in Orinda , California , is single, and has a twenty-eight year old daughter, Jennifer.