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Mamba Mentality isn’t real!

We have that and more in Wednesday’s NBA newsletter.

Kobe Bryant didn’t flinch.

The Starters’ hirsute Rasputin Trey Kerby decided to lob a grenade into NBA Twitter on Tuesday, warning everyone that the infamous GIF in which Matt Barnes threatens to throw the ball in Kobe Bryant’s face on a baseline out-of-bounds play is actually an optical illusion. Police chase enthusiast and Buckets host Rob Lopez pulled the overhead footage that proves it’s a lie. As the shot above shows, Kobe was standing to the side of Barnes when the pump fake happens! Of course Kobe didn’t flinch! Why you could flinch if someone was pump faking a pass by you?!

My esteemed colleague Kristian Winfield writes that he doesn’t know what to think after this revelation. I know exactly what to think: this is another hella fugazy narrative strand among many that inflate Kobe’s reputation until you look a little closer. The flinch narrative is like his scoring numbers without looking at shooting percentage. It’s 60 points in your farewell game ... on 50 shots.

The flinch narrative is like a column about him sticking around the arena to shoot for hours after a loss when that decision was purely performative given there was a private gym available elsewhere in the building (that wouldn’t be noticed by reporters).

The flinch narrative is Skip Bayless declaring nobody would disrespect Kobe the way Draymond Green disrespected LeBron only for Shannon Sharpe to remind everyone about Chris Childs delivering a three-piece to Kobe’s mug.

The heroes at Silver Screen & Roll put together a hilarious parody 30 for 30 trailer about the flinch revelation. At the end, they jokingly ask, “Wait, so Mamba Mentality isn’t real?” Folks, I think we know the answer to that.

In as fitting a coda as there could ever be, Chris Palmer says Kobe told him this after learning that the world has learned the truth about the flinch: “You gotta remember I was swaying. He did it and I didn’t balk.” Huh, maybe that’s Mamba Mentality: clinging to notions of toughness, supreme excellence, and superior work ethic when evidence suggests otherwise. In that case, maybe it’s real after all.

[realizes he’s been drinking Haterade instead of coffee all morning]

Schedule Check

You may have noticed we aren’t including scores in GMIB. That’s because it’s preseason! Scores will be added back in when the regular season begins. For now, just schedule notes.

On NBA TV on Wednesday: Bulls-Bucks at 8 p.m. ET and Timberwolves-Clippers at 10:30.

On League Pass: Knicks-Nets at 7:30, New Zealand Breakers vs. Suns at 10.

Links Galore

Malik Monk forgot to put his jersey on under his warmups. Happens to the best of us.

In which Carmelo Anthony apologizes to the Rockets bench for stepping in to take a long two-pointer instead of jacking up a three. (He made the long two.) What I wouldn’t give for Melo to spend the year trolling the new style of pro basketball by being awesome in his traditional face-up 18-foot throwback mode all while apologizing to Mike D’Antoni and Daryl Morey constantly.

Seerat Sohi on Kyle Lowry approaching the biggest test of his career.

Lisa Borders has stepped down as WNBA president. The league has lost three top executives recently, and has a huge offseason ahead. Huh.

Uh, Dirk Nowitzki is “weeks away” from game action.

Part II of Zach Lowe’s League Pass rankings.

Mike Prada looks at the dwindling number of players who don’t shoot threes.

Meet Meisam Mirzaeitalarposhti, Iranian basketball hero of the Asia Champions Cup, which seems like an event from Emmet Ryan’s telling.

Warriors vs. Kings in Seattle this Friday is going to be a huge deal.

A LeBron-produced documentary on the NCAA called Student Athlete debuted on HBO Tuesday. Worth checking out.

Klay Thompson says he knows he’s a better defender than some of the guys on the All-Defense team in recent years. NAME NAMES, KLAY.

And finally: Serge Ibaka introduced his teammates to lamb brain.

Be excellent to each other.