Two Fridays ago, I had the distinct privilege of attending my brother’s “Winter 2017 Bar Admission Induction Ceremony” to the Georgia State Bar in Fulton County, Atlanta, Georgia.
Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, I’m absolutely proud of him.
As teens we would stay up late at night in our many shared rooms in many different states dreaming and conversing about who we aspired to be and what we wanted to do. You can say that we were conscious early on; we wanted to change the world however it was we individually saw fit. We were visionaries in our own right.
In school, academics was never his thing, at least he didn’t express it to be. He took to sports, though, and gravitated to basketball because although he was a mini-Barry Sanders in the making in local little league football, he didn’t like getting hit and he didn’t like the headaches from getting hit and I don’t blame him. So basketball it was, and he had lucid “Hoop Dreams” about making it to the NBA.
I’ll never forget the time when, in the dead of a snowy winter in Harrisburg, PA, he, in fervent basketball zeal, decided that “Ball is Life” and suited up with basketball and shovel in tow, mind you, and made his way up the treacherous, black-ice glazed, steep hill of Reservoir Park to practice his craft. Yes, he took it upon himself to shovel snow from the basketball court to practice. Yes, Allen Iverson, PRACTICE!
I mean, seriously, who does that? My brother, Matthew Barnes, does that and more accurately, HE DID THAT.
He went on to try out for various basketball teams of various levels from AAU to semi-professional basketball. I’ve witnessed him in his glory, breaking ankles with precision like Hardaway and then dunking on them (He’s about 5’10”) and sending them on their way. Before the days of smartphones and viral videos, I’ve seen him run clinics on collegiate athletes and embarrass them as such that, now, I wish I had captured his basketball acumen, finesse, and athleticism on video somehow.
I’ve also seen him when the sparkle in his eye glossed over and he decided to build his legacy in another way, still via the NBA, but of a different flavor, the National Bar Association.
I have no doubt that my brother will go far in life because he’s the same brother that taught me how to read. He’s also the same brother that developed an immense admiration for Malcolm X at the age of 12 and has auto-didactically inhaled seemingly every book, speech, or video on him, and is unquestionably the person I go to when I have questions about the revered brother minister, but that’s another conversation for another time. More importantly, he's the same brother that earned a full ride to the University of Pittsburgh Law School and graduated.
Passing any state bar exam is no small feat. Hell, to even be approved to sit for the bar, it costs hundreds of dollars and its application process is lengthy, to say the least. It’s also an arduous exam because, if I’m not mistaking, it’s a two-day event. So if that’s not intimidation, then I need to brush up on my vocabulary.
As I close, with tearful pride, finally, I say this: I love you, bro and I’m proud of you. Congratulations again on your much deserved success!
Love eternally, your keeper.