Before Matt Barnes became a member of the Los Angeles Lakers back in 2010, the NBA journeyman was considered one of those few players in the league with no fear of going toe-to-toe with Kobe Bryant.
Barnes and Bryant had many battles before he ultimately landed in Los Angeles, but the current Los Angeles Clippers forward has nothing but respect for his former teammate. Barnes said the following about the five-time NBA champion in a candid interview with Bleacher Report’s Lance Fresh:
“He’s the greatest player of my generation. I missed out on Michael Jordan. So Kobe is that player of my generation.”
In addition to calling Kobe the greatest player of his generation, Barnes recalls what caused him to almost go blows with the future Hall of Famer:
“He tries to get that mental advantage on you. So he was elbowing me and grabbing me and hitting me in the balls a couple times. I just told him if we’re going to fight, we’re going to fight or we’re going to play basketball.”
Barnes goes on to talk about giving Kobe the infamous ball-fake in which the superstar guard didn’t flinch.
The 13-year veteran stressed the respect between the two and how Kobe eventually recruited him to the Lakers after his contract with the Magic fell through. Even though Barnes now plays for the team across the hall at the Staples Center, the veteran forward keeps in contact with Kobe to this day.
Ironically enough, the best highlight of the season for Kobe thus far came in his first game Clippers recently with Barnes unable to keep up with the 36-year-old as he threw down an impressive reverse dunk.
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