Matt Barnes is an ex NBA player with plenty of experience and long NBA career in which he played for several teams. During that time, he collected a lot of great stories, and in a recent interview for VladTV he talked about one of his most popular moments against Kobe Bryant. That was the moment when the notorious “Kobe didn’t flinch” happened, which is one of the most famous scenes in Bryant’s career.
One of the things Barnes talked about in the interview was the way Bryant played basketball and imposing his will on the opposing players. According to Barnes, Bryant didn’t talk much trash, but the mental and physical abuse was there from the first minute of the game. After some time, Barnes was fed up with Bryant and was ready to start a fight.
“One thing about Kobe is that he is physically gifted, but his mental approach is second to none. He will do all kinds of stuff to mentally f**k with you and not say a single word. Grabbing you, elbowing you, cheap shoting you, just sneaky veteran s**t he can get away. I was retaliating most of the time, and I’ll be getting calls, so I came to the point where I said f**k basketball we are about to fight.”
Furthermore, Barnes explains he didn’t want to hit Bryant with the ball, but what he did was a ball fake because he saw Vince Carter trying to get open. Bryant was standing in front of Barnes, and even though he flinched the ball in front of his face, that didn’t cause any kind of reaction from Bryant. He was utterly focused and locked at that moment, and his facial expression said it all.
“I ball faked, and that s**t kind of happened by itself, and I didn’t realize how close I came to his face and where his face was. I was looking at the play behind him, searching for Vince Carter going back door, and it made NBA history. “
Barnes said he always had too much respect for Kobe and his competitive nature, especially after he joined the Lakers and became teammates with him. He got to know Bryant both professionally and personally and ever since then has the utmost admiration for him despite their rivalry from recent years.