RJ Barrett says he still texts and calls his brother who recently passed away

Mike Battaglino
3 Min Read
Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

RJ Barrett recently lost his younger brother Nathan, who died earlier this month, and the Toronto Raptors star shared the heartbreaking revelation that he still texts him and calls him sometimes.

Nathan Barrett passed away on March 12. His age and cause of death were not revealed.

RJ Barrett has not played since then and has been listed on the NBA injury report as out due to “return to competition reconditioning.” He was traded to Toronto by the New York Knicks earlier this season. In 27 games with the Raptors, he is averaging 20.8 points, 6.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, all better than any of his full season numbers during his time with the Knicks.

The Raptors certainly could use that kind of on-court performance as they are in the midst of a 12-game losing streak that has dropped their record to 23-50 for the season. They are in 12th place in the Eastern Conference and have been eliminated from playoff contention.

Nathan Barrett played high school basketball at Montverde Academy in Florida, as his older brother did. Their father Rowan Barrett is the general manager of Canada Basketball and will be preparing Team Canada for the 2024 Paris Olympics this summer, which will be its first appearance in the Olympics since 2000.

RJ Barrett was the No. 3 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft out of Duke University, after Zion Williamson at No. 1 and Ja Morant at No. 2. He had some relatively successful seasons with the Knicks, averaging 18.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game in 297 regular season games with them. He appeared in at least 70 games in each of his last three full seasons there.

However, he never quite lived up to that lofty draft status in New York and in December was traded to Toronto along with Immanuel Quickley in exchange for O.G. Anunoby and a draft pick.

Yet RJ Barrett is just 23 years old, which means he has a lot of time to improve even more and is likely headed toward a lengthy NBA career. However, this season has obviously been a trying one for him and the Raptors. Both Barrett and the team hopefully can look forward to better days ahead.

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Mike is a veteran journalist who has focused on New York sports. He has covered the NBA and NFL for almost three decades and is still waiting for the next championship for the Knicks and Jets.