Has it really been four years since Kobe Bryant died?
It seems like just yesterday my buddies and I huddled around a small TV in my sophomore year apartment to watch his last game where he dropped 60 points and it seems even more recent that news of he and his daughter’s tragic death in a helicopter crash hit us all like a brick to the back of the head.
While social media will be flooded with some of his iconic moments, the one I always go back to may just be his all-time coldest moment.
On March 7th, 2010, the Lakers were playing the Orlando Magic and were down 55-48 early in the 3rd quarter. That’s when Kobe decided enough was enough. After the Magic’s Vince Carter hits a 3-pointer to put them up 8, Kobe started playing some head games with Matt Barnes. It looks like Matt wasn’t too happy about a hard box out by Kobe and the two started jawing back and forth.
The refs called a questionable double technical on both players and the game went on, although Barnes didn’t let it go. That has to be when Kobe knew he was in his head. The Lakers cut the deficit to 4 points and after another technical, this time on Dwight Howard, Barnes was inbounding the ball under the basket and who but Kobe Bryant was right in his face, staring him down.
So Barnes decided to try something.
He pretended like he was going to throw the ball right at Kobe’s face from just feet away. But Kobe didn’t flinch… Didn’t move. Didn’t react. Didn’t stop swaying. Just stood there with his arms down, staring right into Barnes’ soul.
How, as a human being, is that even possible? Wouldn’t your body’s natural defense mechanism kick in? It’s not like he’s a boxer used to punches coming at his face, how many times has this happened before that it didn’t phase him in the slightest? Most likely it was the first time it happened and Kobe is just that dude.
Straight ice in the veins, the Mamba mentality in action, and proof that Kobe was just different.
RIP to the Laker great.. the world is certainly different without you.