Matt Barnes is paying tribute to his friend and teammate Kobe Bryant with a brand new tattoo ... and it's incredible.
The ex-NBA star hit up legendary ink artist Steve Butcher -- who did the amazing Tupac work on Matt's hand -- in order to add a new image of Kobe and Gianna to his arm.
The image Matt's new tattoo is based from was a moment between Kobe and Gigi at the 2016 NBA All-Star Game in Orlando ... a moment captured on Valentine's Day.
Matt only played 2 seasons on the Lakers with Kobe (from 2010 to 2012) -- but they were friends and Barnes has talked openly about how much respect he had for Kobe on and off the court.
Barnes prepped for the tat sesh with a variety of goodies -- from joints to candy ... the works!
We're still waiting for the final reveal -- but it's already looking incredibly detailed.
Of course, Kobe had such an impact on generations of NBA players -- stars from LeBron James to Anthony Davis and Devin Booker have all had Kobe ink tatted on their bodies.
Kobe and Gianna passed away on January 26th in a helicopter crash in Calabasas.
But, their memories will clearly live on.
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