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GIF of Kobe Bryant not flinching debunked

ESPN.com | Updated: 2018-10-03 08:00:18

One of the most iconic images of Kobe Bryant's career, a shot of the Lakers superstar standing unflinchingly as Matt Barnes faked throwing a ball at his face, has been debunked.

An overhead angle of the 2010 inbounds play involving Barnes, then with the Orlando Magic, and Bryant shows that Kobe wasn't actually standing directly in front of Barnes when the ball fake occurred.

Trey Kerby, who appears on the NBA.com podcast "The Starters," set off a wave of regret on social media when he posted:

That led to a reply from Rob Perez, co-host of the Buckets digital show with ESPN's Cassidy Hubbarth, that showed the overhead shot and then a frame-by-frame breakdown of the play.

The original court-level image, converted into a GIF, has often been used to show Bryant's fearless mentality and was the cornerstone of many retrospectives when the Lakers legend retired in 2016.

Bryant, who hadn't seen the new overhead angle, was unconcerned on Tuesday, according to NBA reporter Chris Martin Palmer.

"You gotta remember I was swaying," Bryant told Palmer. "He did it and I didn't balk."

Barnes has added to the mythology of the moment, saying on a podcast in August that the play was one of the reasons he wanted to join the Lakers later in 2010.

"It wasn't planned, it just happened," Barnes said. "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 [this] microphone and he didn't even blink, which I loved after the fact, but I didn't realize at the time."

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