On March 7, 2010, the Church of Kobestan found its holy sacrament in a Lakers-Magic regular-season game. Sports goblin Matt Barnes was inbounding the ball on the right sideline. He faked a pass directly into Kobe Bryant’s face and Kobe Bryant—he of the hyper-competitive, killer-instinct mentality, the, uh,“Black Mamba” of basketball fame—did not flinch.
Bryant did not move at all, except to continue his languid side-to-side sway, with the ball an eyelash length from his face. For the type of person who is down to organize a physical altercation on the internet, or deface a mural of the best player on their own team, this is the closest thing to a vision of the divine. But perhaps, like a weeping Madonna or milk-drinking Ganesha, this feat doesn’t hold up to sober scrutiny.
Today, The Starters host Trey Kerby continued the important work of debunking this apparent miracle.
It’s tough to find high-quality footage from the game or SportsCenter segment, so we’ll have to settle for this old YouTube video someone took of their TV. Let’s get Zapruder on this shit:
Once you leave the canonical side-profile view, it’s clear that the two players weren’t actually in alignment. The ball is moving on the right side of Kobe’s face as he moves away. While it is still remarkable that Bryant didn’t flinch at all, given the proximity of the ball to his mug, it does not appear that at any point Barnes was faking the ball directly at his face.
Early reports suggest that disciples of Kobestan are in nationwide mourning. In their defense: that’s still pretty close!
H/t to Burke