Former NBA star Matt Barnes revealed receiving “death threat” in aftermath of heated Kobe Bryant incident

Matt Barnes has been a well-known journeyman player during his NBA career. The California-born forward, since his retirement, has transitioned into an analyst role. But, from time-to-time, he reveals unknown stories from his playing days in the podcast appearances he makes alongside his analyst role.

One such story revealed by him involved the late NBA legend Kobe Bryant and the details behind the scenes were far from awe-inspiring. Despite getting the privilege of playing alongside Bryant, one specific moment still haunts Barnes to this day when they faced off against each other, giving birth to one of the most iconic moments of the game.

Matt Barnes recalls intense moment with Kobe Bryant

Matt Barnes opened up about the one move that portrayed him as a villain and made him the recipient of death threats from hoop enthusiasts.

Recently, in his appearance on “Podcast P”, while talking to host Paul George, the former NBA player revealed the amount of hate he started getting after facing Kobe Bryant and the Lakers. Barnes’ team, the Orlando Magic, had welcomed the Lakers to their Arena. However, things changed course in the initial minutes of the third quarter.

The Magic’s forward wanted to pass the ball to his teammate but Kobe’s presence around him obstructed it. In order to intimidate the Lakers’ legend, Barnes tried a fake pass right in front of his face. Despite trying hard, there was no reaction from Kobe, as he remained composed, but his fans didn’t.

Following the game, Barnes became a “villain” to Kobe’s fan base and started receiving shocking threats. “People said on Twitter they’re gonna kill me. They’re gonna find my address, kill my kids, kill my girl. ‘Come to L.A. You better never come back to L.A. We gonna kill you.’ You can’t f**k with Kobe. Them eses in L.A. don’t play about the Lakers and [Los Angeles] Dodgers and particularly Kobe. Bro, I got so many death threats. I kid you not,” said the NBA veteran.

Although Barnes made the move only for the game and had no personal grudge, the NBA community did not let that go. The player ended up with the Lakers for two years in the following seasons.

Looking back at Matt Barnes NBA career

Matt Barnes had a rocky start in the league after his college era. In the 2002 NBA Draft, the small forward was brought in by the Memphis Grizzlies as the 46th overall pick, but in no time was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers. He soon found himself playing for the D-League team, Fayetteville Patriots.

After spending the next year in the Long Beach Jam, Barnes returned to the league in the LA Clippers’ jersey. Spending the latter half of the season with the franchise, the 6’7″er averaged 4.5 points, 4 rebounds, and 1.3 assists. The following season, Barnes joined the Sacramento Kings in October 2004, where his averages dipped to 3.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 1.3 assists.

The NBA veteran spent the next two years with the NY Knicks and Philadelphia 76ers, then finally settled with the Golden State Warriors for two seasons (2006–2008), where he got more time on the court to improve his offense to 8.25 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 2 assists per game.

Barnes, in his 14-season-long NBA career, appeared for other franchises like the Phoenix Suns, Orlando Magic, and Los Angeles Lakers, then returned to the Clippers, and Kings, but didn’t achieve anything like he did when he returned to the Warriors in 2017. In the 20 games he played with the Golden State, Barnes averaged 5.7 points, 4.6 rebounds, and 2.3 assists while shooting at 42.2% from the floor and 34.6% from the 3-point range.

With the prestigious NBA championship ring, which he didn’t claim, in the Warriors’ colors, Matt Barnes ended his NBA career, breaking the news on his Instagram handle. Despite the retirement, the resentment from the Lakers fans changed only a little over the years due to their undying love for Kobe Bryant.

Shalini Ray

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Shalini is a passionate NBA follower who got hooked to the game thanks to Stephen Curry's sharpshooting show. While indulging in the sport of basketball solely within the confines of the school court, she keeps herself as close as possible to the game through all the latest happenings in the world of NBA.


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