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Imaginary text message exchanges between Kobe Bryant and Matt Barnes

July 29, 2010 | 11:00 am

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If they haven't already, it wouldn't hurt for Kobe Bryant and Matt Barnes to get unlimited text messaging or become Blackberry buddies. Bryant's surely well compensated; Forbes recently reported he's the third highest-paid athlete at $48 million, so this is probably one of the least of his worries. But Barnes took a pay cut to join the Lakers, rejecting a $9-million offer and accepting a two-year deal worth $3.6 million, meaning Barnes' data plan may be one of the few sacrifices he'll need to make in hopes he can get that ring.

Who am I kidding? Barnes is still making some pretty hefty dough. Nonetheless, it's not a jump to say Bryant and Barnes have flooded each other's inbox. Barnes shared Tuesday in his introductory press conference that the two have been texting back and forth after Barnes expressed interest in playing for the Lakers. Interestingly, Barnes characterized the exchange this way in an interview with Fox Radio's "Into the Night with Tony Bruno": "Kobe has been the driving force behind this. I have been talking to Kobe back and forth like we were boyfriend and girlfriend for the last two weeks and sending us texts and talking."

Below the jump is what I imagined what the text messages entailed. Of course, knowing Bryant's tendency to use profanity, I had to consider that this is a family-friendly outlet. But you get the drift. Feel free to write out whatever else you think Bryant and Barnes were texting each other in the comments section below.

MB: Yo, Kobe. it's matt barnes. i got ur # from one of my boys. i wanna play for the lakers. hit me back

KB: My man. i hoped we could get someone like u after raja bailed on me at dinner

MB: Wow that was quick

KB: wut was quick?

MB: i thought u'd ignore my text. youre kobe bryant.

KB: it's the offseason. i don't have my phone off anymore

MB: so you didn't delete my text message? albert pujols and a bunch of people texted u after the finals and u deleted them! WTH?!

KB: hah, my bad. 500 phone calls is too much.

MB: so did you read my text? i really wanna play for the lakers. btw, sorry about our scuffle last season. we're competitors, know what i mean?

KB: it's cool. don't sweat it. this ain't no popularity contest. i'd love for u to play for the lakers. help us get a three-peat. just dont say three-peat once the season starts.

MB: i still can't believe i'm talkin to u, bro. i mean, i'm a man. if you weren't feelin me and said no, i'd be cool w/ that. we'd just be back at war against each other. But i want to be at war w/ each other

KB: anyone crazy enough to mess w/ me is crazy enough to play with me. thats why i love ron. he came to me in the shower after game 6 loss to boston in 08. i was like WTH? but he wants the ring

MB: let's get it done! you gotta admit, thou, i got u good last season

KB: got me good? i didnt even flinch. i knew u wouldnt do nothin. what would i flinch for?

MB: yeah but you kept chewing gum.

KB: jeff van gundy said it was the play of the game cause i didnt flinch. case closed

MB: he also said you can't shoot left handed

KB: yea, well i proved him wrong. made him know about it too

MB: i just hope if i join the lakers, everyone will like me. i hear lamar called me a monkey and ric flair

KB: hah that's lamar. good teammate. really got angry about it the next week. just give him candy and he'll be good.

MB: ive never been called ric flair b4

KB: wutever. miami is pullin the nwo act. we gotta do somethin

MB: how do i sign up?

KB: you gotta talk to mitch

MB: oh i thought you ran the shots around here

KB: i do, but i'm busy. i was at the world cup, ive been runnin my basketball camp, im bout to get surgery, head to china for a bit. ill tell mitch wuts up thou

MB: i cant wait. ive been on 7 diff teams never w/ a chance to get a ring.

KB: u gotta chance now. ill talk 2 mitch and hit u back

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After Toronto failed to acquire Barnes through a sign-and-trade

MB: kob, hope ur not mad. sure u heard toronto wanted me thru sign & trade. didnt work. its all messed up. first, ORL doesnt offer contract, then they cant pull trade off. i still want to b w/ the lakers if thats cool

KB: tell me about it; i thought i needed to get outta LA few years back. wasnt sure whatever was gonna happen. oh well, 2 rings later...

MB: id love 2 get 1

KB: if u ride w/ me, we'll b good

MB: wut do u need me to do?

KB: just b matt barnes. what u pulled on me, u gotta pull on them

MB: i'm so ready to guard lebron. when i see him xmas day, im gonna clap powder in his face, im gonna get him ejected, im gonna say to him i have the new lebron iphone where it vibrates but has no ring.....

KB: thats corny. that punchlines been used way 2 many times. plus dont worry about lebron. rons got him. just back him up. guard the perimeter. we may need u. lukes back is all messed up

MB: whatever u need. i told my agent i dont even care about minutes or money. he's bringing that up to mitch too. cleveland wants me & is throwing the $ at me, but man i dont trust gilbert. he put lebron on blast like that. that teams in ruins

KB: they get home court and they do nothin in the playoffs. oh well we got bigger fish to fry. u on board?

MB: yeah man, ur the defending champs. ill do whatever i can do. u inspire me so much. remember u went to pauley when i was a bruin. u had a broken right hand & just practiced w/ just left hand! ish is crazy!

KB: hah that's nothin bro. wish u were here last season. played w/ 1 leg, practiced w/ just left hand too. d.j. and ron kept swatting my finger in practice. same w/ other teams. when id get mad, id take my splint and show him how crooked the finger is. its all messed up. but gary vitti takes care of me

MB: in practice next season, im gonna inbound the ball and make you flinch!

KB: haha, you kiddin right? it wont happen

MB: who can i get to flinch?

KB: get sasha. dont even need to try. i charged $300 meal to his hotel room; nearly lost it. say ur boys w/ dragic and he'll try to fight u

MB: haha no doubt. ill hit u up if i hear anything. put in a good word to mitch

KB: i got u

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After Barnes accepts offer with the Lakers

KB: congrats!!! welcome aboard

MB: thanks a lot bro! ur awesome! i cant believe this is happening. its been my lifelong dream to be a laker! im pinching myself

KB: this ain't no inception. this is really happening

MB: so excited. i loved watching magic growin up. man, kareem, byron scott, it's showtime baby! but of course youre my favorite laker. you the GLOAT!!

KB: you better believe it. im in china now but well get dinner when i get back. ill pick u up in my helicoptor

MB: sick! ive never been in one b4!

KB: just dont blow off dinner like raja did.

MB: man i thought hed want a ring

KB: i understand his situation. wants security. but utah will never get a ring. cant stand that team. ever since my rookie season, cant stand them

MB: man laker nations not showing me love. i know they love u but thought the hate would go away

KB: just win man. they hated me after shaq left; hated me in first round exits; hated me during radio tour. u just gotta win and they'll love you

MB: im ready to win. i just want to contribute in any way i can. i want to be that small piece to get title #3

KB: my man. we'll be ready. ill see you at dinner. bring a notebook & a pen. ill break down the triangle for u w/ a quiz at the end

MB: couldnt ask to fight w/ a better competitor. wutever u tell me, ill do

KB: put in the work ron did, and ill embrace u no matter how many mistakes u make. tough to top ron thou.

MB: i love ron. he gave me some twitter love :)

KB: dont come at me w/ a smiley face. so corny. ill hit u up when i get back

MB: can't wait to see u!

--Mark Medina

Follow the L.A. Times Lakers blog on Twitter: twitter.com/latmedina. E-mail the Lakers blog at mgmedin@gmail.com

Photo: Referee Tony Brothers (25) steps between Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Magic forward Matt Barnes after the two traded elbows and were called for technical fouls last year during a regular season game. Credit: John Raoux/Associated Press.

Photo: In this television screen capture from Sunday’s game, Matt Barnes pretends to throw an inbounds pass at Kobe Bryant’s face. Credit: ABC/ESPN.

Photo: Lakers forward Matt Barnes speaks to the media during an introductory news conference in El Segundo on Tuesday. Credit: Nick Ut / Associated Press


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