Matt Barnes says fans threatened to kill him and his kids after Kobe Bryant incident

Orel Dizon
3 Min Read
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Former Los Angeles Lakers forward Matt Barnes enjoyed a lengthy NBA stint, playing 14 seasons after getting drafted in the second round by the Memphis Grizzlies in 2002.

One of the moments that defined his career was when he tried to intimidate Kobe Bryant with a fake pass that, from one camera angle, looked like he attempted to throw the ball at the late Lakers legend’s face. The play only made an unflinching Bryant look good.

Barnes addressed the incident in a recent appearance on Paul George’s podcast, recalling how the Hall of Famer’s fans sent him threats after the fact.

“It was crazy because I was getting super death threats after that,” Barnes said about the play. “I was kind of the bad guy, the villain, whatever. But, I became the real villain after that s—. 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— 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.”

Barnes also discussed why he faked a pass at the 18-time All-Star’s face, citing the competitive fire brewing between them and the animosity between his squad, the Orlando Magic, and the Lakers after the teams faced off in the previous Finals.

The retired forward also hilariously recollected getting some elbows from the superstar guard, with some hits occurring in front of the referees. The intimidation tactic came after that. But in true “Black Mamba” fashion, Bryant remained calm.

There had been a discussion on whether Barnes indeed faked the pass directly at Bryant’s face, as one camera angle showed the five-time champion didn’t appear to be standing in front of his former rival.

However, Barnes has often said that he tried to intimidate Bryant that evening, which should probably put that debate to rest.

What’s certain, though, is that it didn’t work, with Bryant finishing that contest with 34 points. As a consolation for Barnes, the Magic came away with a 96-94 victory.

The former foes eventually became teammates after the California native decided to join the Purple and Gold in the 2010 offseason, thanks to Bryant’s invitation. With the move, he earned the admiration and forgiveness of the Lakers faithful.

Barnes played for the Lakers for two seasons, both of which ended with an elimination in the conference semifinals.

Share This Article
Orel is excited about the prospect of “Showtime Lakers” making a comeback, thanks to the presence of the King and the arrival of the Brow.