BEVO BEAT

Never say never: Justin Bieber, Rick Barnes pose for a photo amid influx of SXSW stars

Posted March 10th, 2014

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As the surrealist multimedia circus that is South by Southwest continues to tilt Austin further into an event horizon of cronuts and absurdity, not even the Texas Longhorns athletic deparment is safe.

Fresh off an Internet-breaking surprise appearance at Rainey Street bar Banger’s on Sunday night, it appears the Canadian pop star stopped by UT’s practice court for a meet-and-greet with the Big 12 Coach of the Year himself, Rick Barnes. Longhorn Network posted the evidence on Instagram Monday morning. In the photo, Bieber puts up the “hook ’em horns” sign, paired with a vacant facial expression.

It looks like that there’s now one less lonely coach in the world. In case you were wondering, yes, the comments on the photo have quickly descended into a tussle between the anti-Bieber crowd and the singer’s devoted “Belieber” fans.

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It should be noted that Bieber isn’t actually in town as an official SXSW artist. The “As Long As You Love Me” singer performed at a private SXSW party for SB Management, the talent agency that represents the singer.

Rick Barnes is also not listed as an official SXSW artist.

It’s been documented how Bieber is a big fan of Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant, a former Longhorn. Bieber’s people called Durant’s people once the singer hit town and asked to see the facilities. So Durant’s people OK-ed it with Texas, and then Bieber and his group showed up at Cooley Pavilion to play some hoops.

Odd thing was, nobody was there. The players were actually in study hall Monday morning even though the school is on spring break. Barnes came in just to pick up some video tapes for scouting purposes. The staff egged Barnes into going upstairs for a photo op. To say the head coach doesn’t know who Bieber is would be putting it nicely.

Anyway, the picture was snapped, but Bieber insisted the camera point upward so Durant’s retired jersey could be seen in the background. And thus, we have Texas history.

When some of the players were shown the photo later in the afternoon, they weren’t impressed. Freshman Isaiah Taylor said straight out he’d prefer Bieber’s on/off girlfriend. “I’d rather see Selena,” Taylor said.

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