PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -Marvin Barnes was arrested early Tuesday and charged with cocaine possession, the latest legal problem for the former basketball star who has been battling drug addiction for years.
Police said they found a bag of cocaine inside an SUV that the 54-year-old Barnes was driving.
Barnes, nicknamed ``Bad News'' for his off-the-court problems, was arrested along a highway shoulder in Johnston, said Major Steven O'Donnell, a state police spokesman.
Two officers approached the Lincoln Navigator before dawn thinking the car had broken down, O'Donnell said. When Barnes stepped outside, the troopers spotted what appeared to be a bag of cocaine inside. A woman riding with Barnes was not arrested.
Barnes, who lives in Providence, was scheduled to appear Tuesday in Kent County District Court in Warwick.
The arrest was the most recent for the 6-foot-9 forward who led Providence College to the Final Four in 1973. Philadelphia drafted him in the first round in 1974, though Barnes instead signed with the Spirits of St. Louis in the now-defunct American Basketball Association.
Named ABA Rookie of the Year in 1975, Barnes averaged 24.1 points and 13.4 rebounds in his two ABA seasons before the league folded. He went to the Detroit Pistons in 1976 before bouncing between the Buffalo Braves, Boston Celtics and San Diego Clippers. His last season in the NBA was in 1980.
Barnes has acknowledged in the past that he was addicted to cocaine, and said he was trying to recover.
When sentenced in 1990 for stealing videotapes from a San Diego adult bookstore, Barnes' lawyer said the former star had been in five different drug treatment programs. He's also been arrested for trespassing, being under the influence of narcotics and burglary of a locked vehicle.
``I went from the top to the bottom and I've seen everything in the middle,'' Barnes said in a 1994 interview with The Associated Press. ``A couple of times, I thought I was going to die. I know God's got plans for me because I'm not dead.''
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