Matt Barnes, Who Almost Smashed Kobe Bryant’s Face, Put “the Mamba” at Number 2 in Controversial GOAT List

Published 05/16/2022, 12:00 PM EDT

Matt Barnes was a second-round draft pick back in 2004. The Santa Clara native spent a significant amount of time in the G-League, where he had to perfect his craft in order to compete against the world’s best. In a career that spanned 14 years, Barnes shoed up for a total of 9 franchises, carving out a pretty good career. 

In an interview with Vlad TV, the host mentioned to Matt Barnes that Jalen Rose was recently on his show and was asked to name his top ten all-time players. And went on to say that Jalen listed Kobe Bryant seventh on the list.

Matt Barnes’ top 10

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Matt Barnes expressed his displeasure after seeing Jalen Rose place Kobe seventh on the list. “Kobe gave him 81,” Barnes remarked, referring to Kobe’s 81-point performance against the Toronto Raptors with Rose as one of the primary defenders on him.

Matt Barnes said, “For me, Jordan is 1, and Kobe’s 1B, and that’s no knock on LeBron. I think LeBron is right there. But just the killer instinct Kobe had, the way he attacked the game, and it’s the same thing that made Kobe great that people knocked LeBron for but he is a different type of player. LeBron is the ‘right-play’ type player. If he has to pass for the last shot, he’s willing to do that for the betterment of the team. Kobe is not passing that.”

Barnes went on to name his top five players, which included Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Magic Johnson, and Shaquille O’Neal in the respective order.

Lakers guard Kobe Bryant yells out in frustration after just missing a circus shot against the Nuggets defense late in the first half in game 6 of the NBA Western Conference Finals at the Pepsi Center. (Photo by Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

While the trend has always been to identify Michael Jordan and LeBron James as the top two, no one could ever go wrong with choosing Kobe. The “Mamba Mentality” was truly a thing, and he brought that out any given night. A 20-year career that featured 5 NBA titles,18 All-Star appearances, 15 All-NBA Team selections, 12-time All-Defensive Team selections, 1 NBA MVP, and countless other honors. These are, without a doubt, G.O.A.T. numbers. 

Back to the time when Kobe Bryant didn’t flinch

Kobe Bryant was a true master of his craft. Defenders used to drape themselves all over him, but he dissected it all with supreme skill day in and day out. Kobe’s game was reminiscent of Michael Jordan‘s, something the Lakers’ ace never refuted. Another characteristic he picked up from his idol was the ability to talk trash to the opposition.

During a matchup between the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers in 2010, Kobe had one of the most legendary moments in NBA history. During an inbound pass in the third quarter, Matt Barnes tried to make Kobe flinch.

Barnes would fake the ball right in front of Kobe’s face, who didn’t even blink. The Lakers great appeared unaffected, with supporters referring to him as otherworldly. 

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When Kobe came as a special guest on Barnes’ podcast, All The Smoke, several years down the line, the two had a hearty laugh over the whole thing. Barnes even stated that Bryant had a propensity for sneaking inside his opponents’ heads. 

 

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A post shared by All the Smoke (@allthesmoke)

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WATCH THIS STORY: Top 5 Moments When Jayson Tatum Used Kobe Bryants Signature Move During The Game And Left Fans Mesmerized

Barnes highlighted the intensity throughout the contest on his podcast when describing the event. The former Mavericks player also mentioned how he and Bryant went back and forth throughout the game. The Magic won the game 96-94. However, it was Kobe’s legendary moment with Barnes that has become one of the NBA’s top moments. 

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Ritvik Malhotra

180 articles

Ritvik is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Having completed his Bachelor's in Journalism and Mass Communication from Amity University, Ritvik has finally got his foot in the door as a professional sports writer. He previously interned at another media house where he authored over 150 soccer articles, but he is now writing about his primary obsession, basketball.

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