Raptors’ RJ Barrett opens up following 19-year-old brother’s death: ‘I’m always missing him’

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Sixth-year NBA guard RJ Barrett broke his silence on the death of his 19-year-old brother Nathan Barrett.

The younger brother of the Toronto Raptors star died earlier this month. Barrett says he still calls and sends messages to his brother, whom he described as his best friend.

“You know, he was my best friend,” Barrett said of his late brother on Friday. “I’m always missing him. I still text him.

“I still call them sometimes, but yeah, just a tough time, but I’m thankful for just all the support from everybody. And, you know, definitely the Raptors, being able to give me that time, and just welcoming me back.”

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RJ Barrett dribbles the ball

RJ Barrett of the Toronto Raptors dribbles during the game against the Denver Nuggets at Ball Arena in Denver on March 11.  (Dustin Bradford/Getty Images)

Barrett, who spent the majority of his pro basketball career to date with the New York Knicks, was emotional as he explained how he is navigating the difficult time.

“I’ve had some people in my life, but this one hit a little harder for me,” he said of Nathan’s death. “This one is definitely a little different, it’s a lot tougher, and I just think that you’ve gotta push forward every day, gotta be able to try to figure it out.”

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Barrett said his brother would simply want him to continue playing basketball.

“If I know my brother, he would want me to be here, to be playing, to try to continue to make the Barrett legacy grow,” he said.

RJ Barrett dribbles the ball

Toronto Raptors guard RJ Barrett drives against Tre Mann of the Charlotte Hornets during the game at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto on March 3. (Cole Burston/Getty Images)

Nathan’s cause of death was not revealed.

“While our family is devastated by this great loss, we will continue to cherish the memories and time spent together,” a statement from the Barrett family, which was released by the Raptors and Canada Basketball, read. “Nathan was a God-fearing young man of strong character. He was thoughtful, kind, loving, compassionate, creative, admirable and driven.”

Nathan was following in his older brother’s footsteps, as he played high school basketball in Florida. He was also studying to one day become a pilot.

“He’s growing up way too fast, every time I see him he’s getting taller, he’s, like, starting to wear my shoes now and stuff, so it’s crazy,” Barrett told the Post regarding Nathan last June. “He’s more a point guard, but he’s really aggressive.”

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Barrett was the third overall draft pick in 2019. He is averaging 20.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game through 27 appearances with Toronto this season.

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