From a Mavericks Fan: Happy Birthday, Kobe Bryant


Happy Birthday, Kobe Bryant.

Living in the OC and around Mamba and Lakers’ fans my whole life as a Dallas Mavericks fan was never the easiest thing…All thanks to you.

During the 2005 season you dropped 62 points in three quarters…THREE!! on the Mavs….and to make matters worse, you outscored the whole team in the process.

Thanks, Kobe.

A few seasons earlier, the Mavs were up 27 in the fourth quarter.

Game over, right?

Nope! You, Shaquille O’Neal, and the rest of the team had to come up with the franchise’s greatest comeback win against Dirk NowitzkiMichael Finley, and some of your old running mates, Steve Nash and Nick Van Exel.

44-15 Lakers’ advantage in the fourth. Who hit the game winner? No one else but you.

Thanks, Kobe.

By the 2006 season you had three rings and trophies to your name.

And trust me…every Lakers fan made sure to remind me. But it was the 2006 Finals and the Mavs were on the verge up going up 3-0 on the Miami Heat.

I was finally going to have bragging rights for once!

How foolish I was.

Dwyane Wade, Shaq, the Refs, and Pat Riley would come back and win FOUR STRAIGHT games.

Despite neither the Lakers or Mavs winning that season, Lakers fans still pointed to you and your three rings.

Now the 2007 season was here and the Mavs were just on fire all season. They would lead the league with 67 wins, while you, stuck with Kwame Brown, would just total 42.

Dirk got his MVP that season (something you didn’t have yet), expectations were high and this was the chance for the gap to close.

I remember hating the matchup with the Golden State Warriors, but the Mavs couldn’t lose to the eighth seed.


Just read what Isaac Harris wrote on that team, because I don’t want to remember Devean George or that team right now.

After those two playoff disappointments, you decide you want to supply Lakers’ fans with more ammunition.

You add MVP to your resume the following season. You couldn’t even wait!

Then…You don’t win one, but TWO championships during the 2009 and 2010 seasons.

Thanks, Kobe.

But now it’s the second round of the 2011 playoffs. We finally have Dirk and the Mavs versus Kobe and the Lakers.

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The texts, calls, and conversations I had with your fans was as expected.

“You have no chance”  “5 Rings”  “Three-Peat” “Dirk who?”

Dirk and the Mavs comeback and take game one.

I stay quiet. Remembering all the disappointments from the past.

Mavs take game two. I still stay quiet, but your fans can’t believe it.

Game three…it’s over, but I continue the trend.

Game four…sweep…I finally have the ammunition I needed against Lakers fans, but I just respond with smiles, because the ultimate goal wasn’t to beat you, Phil Jackson, and the Lakers, it was to be NBA Champs for once!

That season, Dirk, Rick Carlisle, Mark Cuban, Jason Kidd, Jason Terry, and squad would finally be able to say that.

But deep down, all the heartbreak and headaches you sent me made the satisfactions so much better.

The feeling of taking down THE MAMBA in FOUR games and ending your run of success is indescribable. It was as if everything pre-2011 vanished.

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While the tables turned for a period of time, Lakers and Mavs fans are now in a similar boat.

Two Future Hall-of-Famers on rebuilding/retooling teams.

While winning is yours and Dirk’s ultimate goal, your presence on the court is all that matters to us now.

You’ve driven me crazy for so long, but I sadly know you won’t be around forever.

When I watch you play now, it won’t be in hope the Lakers lose (actually it will be), but to appreciate what won’t be there forever.

And when you and Dirk step head to head this season, I know it could potentially be the final time.

I’ll make sure to enjoy the battle (and hopefully the win).

Thanks, Kobe.

More from The Smoking Cuban staff:

Isaac Harris: Kobe is Kobe. One of the greatest to lace em’ up. I normally get a lot of flack for this, but I’d take Kobe over LeBron all-time any day. He has the “it” factor. The fire. Same characteristics that MJ had, the closest thing to him I have seen. I also think he was an underrated defender. It will be a sad day when he hangs ’em up soon.

Game 7. Tied up. Last shot….you can have anybody current in the league. Give me Kobe or Dirk over anyone.

Jay Knodell: For a long time I despised Kobe Bryant. Full disclosure here: I grew up a Chicago Bulls fan whose first professional sports experience came at the United Center, so anyone who came along, touted as “the next Michael Jordan” was instantly added to my list of sports villains.

While I still would never refer to myself as a “fan” of Kobe, I have grown to respect him and the way he conducts himself. In a league where seemingly every star has been friends since their AAU days, hugging it out before, after, and sometimes during games, Bryant is one of the last specimens of a dying breed.

The “old-school”, win-at-all-costs, “I don’t care if you like me” type of guy that used to roam the NBA landscape is an endangered species, and when Bryant hangs ’em up it’ll be one more step towards extinction.

So NBA fans, even if Kobe Bryant’s Lakers have been the source of heartache and misery over the last two decades or so, we should all be rooting for a successful recovery and comeback for the Black Mamba this season. The game just isn’t the same without him.

Happy birthday, Kobe.

Next: Inside the Mavericks' 67-Win Season

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