By the end of the day, Leandro Barbosa was laughing about a practical joke that had him scurrying around the team’s Beverly Hills hotel Thursday. But for a while, a phone hoax that had Barbosa believing he was traded to the New York Knicks was no laughing matter.
Barbosa, who made the mistake of registering under his own name, was in his room when he received an anonymous phone call “informing him” of a trade, and telling him he needed to meet Suns general manager Steve Kerr in the hotel lobby.
“My heart was hurting,” Barbosa said. “Every time I hear the word ‘trade,’ … it’s just not a comfortable word for me at all. This is my team. I went a little crazy.”
Frantic and near tears, Barbosa rushed to the lobby in search of coaches or team personnel for answers before he was finally assured it was all a hoax.
“I said, ‘L.B., use your head. Don’t you think I would have told you if something like that was even possible?’ ” said Suns assistant and Barbosa confidant Dan D’Antoni, who was able to put his fears to rest. “I told him, ‘You’ve got to use someone else’s name when you check into a hotel. If someone told me to come down to the front desk and pick up a million dollars, do you think I’d start running for the elevator?’ ”
Even hours later, it was no joking matter for Barbosa. “That was a terrible thing,” he said.