UPDATE: Kobe Bryant has responded to the debunking of the “no flinch” moment between himself and Matt Barnes.
Apparently, NBA reporter and writer Chris Martin Palmer informed Bryant of what was happening on social media.
“Just talked to Kobe a couple minutes ago about this. He hadn’t heard about it yet. He wasn’t worried. At all,” Palmer said.
Just talked to Kobe a couple minutes ago about this. He hadn't heard about it yet. He wasn't worried. At all. "You gotta remember I was swaying. He did it and I didn't balk." https://t.co/8nR2wHNIX4
— Chris Palmer (@ChrisPalmerNBA) October 2, 2018
The former NBA star then told Palmer the following: “You gotta remember I was swaying. He did it and I didn’t balk.”
Read the original story below.
NBA Twitter isn’t taking the revelation well.
The Kobe Bryant “no flinch” GIF. Yes, the one of an unwavering Bryant standing in front of Matt Barnes as he pump-fakes a basketball at Bryant’s face during a 2010 NBA game. Well, turns out that the moment didn’t really happen.
Trey Kerby, the host of TV show The Starters, tweeted the following: “Don’t watch the overhead angle of the Kobe-Barnes no flinch unless you want it to be totally ruined.”
Don’t watch the overhead angle of the Kobe-Barnes no flinch unless you want it to be totally ruined.
— Taco Trey Kerby (@treykerby) October 2, 2018
Well numerous users didn’t take Kerby’s advice and watched the moment for themselves, only to realize that the no-flinch moment was all a lie.
He wasnt standing in front of him when he did it my whole life is a lie pic.twitter.com/8pGF2IRAjQ
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) October 2, 2018
— Austen Leake (@TribStarAusten) October 2, 2018
As Deadspin notes, not much high-quality footage from the game or the moment exists online. But there is an old YouTube video (it was uploaded back in 2010) that offers an ovearhead viewing of the moment. Where the popular side-profile view makes it seem as if Bryant never moved, the overhead view shows that the two players weren’t directly in front of each other. However, the ball was still pretty close to Bryant’s face.
How Bryant and Barnes have talked about the moment since it happened only added to the mythos of the play.
“He’s crazy, but he’s not that crazy, so I didn’t flinch,” Bryant said in a 2015 interview. “It was just a split-second reaction. I processed it pretty quickly and realized what was going on.”
“It wasn’t planned, it just happened,” Barnes said in a separate interview on the Lunchtime with Roggin and Rodney podcast. “If you watch the film, I’m just letting the play behind him transpire, but I just happened to fake the ball in his face and I came as close as I am to the microphone [in the studio] and he didn’t even blink, which I loved after the fact, but I didn’t realize at the time.”