During Will Barton’s rookie season in 2012-13, he had the opportunity to go up against the man he considers to be the greatest player of all time – Kobe Bryant. And it wasn’t long before Kobe had Barton completely shook.
The Nuggets’ swingman recently joined the Posted Up podcast with Chris Haynes, where he revealed exactly how the Black Mamba rattled him simply by refusing to guard him at the three-point line. Says Barton, “I got that ball at the three-point line, and he’s all the way at the free throw line. And I’ve been good my whole life, I’ve never had nobody guard me like that, so it messed me up psychologically.”
Barton admitted that Bryant’s tactics got into his head and made him nervous about shooting the ball, but some words of encouragement from Kobe after the game motivated him to improve his shot.
“I talked to him after the game. I was coming out of the locker room, about to go into the garage to the cars and Kobe right there, and he called me over. He was just talking to me, and that’s the only time I’ve ever been star struck in my life. And I remember he told me, ‘young fella, you gonna be good but you gotta work on your jumper. Lock yourself in that gym and get your jumper straight.’ When he told me that, I just ran with it.”
Barton, who averaged just four points during his rookie campaign with the Blazers, is currently averaging 14.6 points, 7 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 33 minutes per game.