Kobe Bryant will be remembered as one of the fiercest competitors in sports, no matter which one we’re talking about. Bryant had a different mentality than the rest of the players who went against him, giving us some memorable moments throughout a successful career.
One of the most famous has to be the time when Matt Barnes shoved a ball right in his face and he didn't even blink. That clip has beaten the test of time as a reminder of how much of a competitor Bryant was and still is.
Now during a recent interview with Vlad TV, Barnes explained how things went down with Kobe, stating that the Lakers legend wasn’t much of a trash talker, but he was one player who could get under your skin and during the game and Barnes was ready to 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.”
Moreover, Barnes added he didn’t want to hit Kobe with the ball, but what he did was a ball fake because he saw Vince Carter trying to get open. Bryant was in front of Barnes, and even though he flinched the ball in front of his face, Kobe stayed as nothing happened.
“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. “
Matt made it clear that there was nothing but respect between Kobe and him, and the biggest proof that was the phone call from Bryant asking Barnes to join the Lakers. Of course, he ended up accepting the offer and the rest was history.