Matt Barnes trying to get Kobe to flinch and getting nothing, not even a blink, is one of the most iconic moments in Kobe’s career. It encapsulates everything you need to know about his character. All players, former teammates, and opponents, often rank Kobe higher than basketball fans and reporters. Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes referred to him as the “second greatest player ever,” and their stories explain why.
Jalen Rose calls them “hold me back” fights. An instance where players don’t have any intention of actually coming to blows. As is usual, Stephen Jackson was a bit more colourfull in describing those and pointing out that fact got him eight to ten points a game. Stack would use his physicality to intimidate the opposition and gain an advantage.
Barnes, on the other hand, played against and with Kobe. Now, playing with him doesn’t mean you get a completely different treatment – Kobe was notorious for the pressure he’d put on his teammates in practice. But it did give him perspective on Kobe. Take a listen to all the stories and examples these two legends have, as they would call him, Kobe “