Remembering when Kobe Bryant didn’t flinch at Matt Barnes’ inbounds pass

first_imgMORE: Top 10 GIFs of Kobe Bryant’s careerI’ve watched this GIF so many times, and I can’t believe how Bryant doesn’t move. He just keeps his cool while the ball is practically touching his nose.I mean, just look at the calmness in his eyes while this happened.Most people only know about this moment from the game, but this was just a small part of the battle between Barnes and Bryant. As the Associated Press recap of that night explains, they were both battling all game long.Bryant and Barnes continuously traded elbows and were each hit with a technical foul in the third quarter after going chest-to-chest in a verbal spat. Barnes had a put-back dunk a few plays later and dangled his legs on Bryant, who extended his right arm slightly into his opponent’s chest, leading to another confrontation…. Barnes and Derek Fisher would get double fouls in the game’s final minute, with the pair brushing each other after Orlando’s feisty forward threw a blind-sided screen.As for the inbounds play, as the GIF gained popularity, so did the interest in the story behind it. Both players offered their sides in the years that followed. Kobe Bryant is known for his “Black Mamba” mentality, and perhaps that was most on display on March 7, 2010.Bryant was playing against the Magic that night, and in the third quarter Orlando’s Matt Barnes attempted to make Kobe flinch on an inbounds pass. He faked throwing the ball right in his face, and Bryant didn’t move — like, at all.  Here’s what Barnes had to say in 2010 to Sports Illustrated:”That scared me a little. I mean, that wasn’t even human. And then I saw the replay, and I was like, this close to him, and he didn’t flinch. I didn’t know what I expected, maybe something to happen, but he didn’t flinch.”And here’s Bryant, via the LA Daily News in 2015:”He’s crazy, but he’s not that crazy. So I didn’t bother flinching. It was a split second and I processed it pretty quickly. I realized he wasn’t going to do it. We laughed and joked about it a lot when he played together.”The Magic ended up winning that game, 96-94. Bryant had a game-high 34 points, and Barnes finished with 10.last_img

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