Kobe Bryant almost became a member of the Dallas Mavericks.
In an interview with Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, I asked him if he could pick one former NBA player that he would have liked to have had on the Mavs, would Kobe Bryant be one of those former players?
He was honest.
“I thought we had a trade for him in October of 2007,” Mark Cuban told me. “We had agreed on a deal, then they talked him out of his trade demand.”
That was at the time that Bryant was unhappy with the Lakers and the seemingly slow development of the players around Bryant. In 2015, Bryant confirmed the trade demand on the Grantland Basketball Hour show, and said that the Bulls had been his No. 1 choice as a destination. He also confirmed that the Pistons had a deal in place that the Lakers were willing to accept, but Bryant said he did not want to be traded to Detroit.
The move didn’t happen. Good thing, too. The Black Mamba, as Bryant was known, won two additional championships in 2009 and 2010.
Bryant Stayed with the Lakers For 20 Years
The 13th pick in the 1996 NBA Draft out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Pennsylvania, Bryant played all 20 seasons of his NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Guided by head coach Phil Jackson, Bryant won five NBA championships with the Lakers, where he played alongside the likes of Shaquille O’Neal, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom.
Bryant is fourth on the NBA’s career scoring list, registering 33,643 points.
The two-time NBA Finals MVP award winner was the NBA’s regular-season MVP in 2008 and also has the distinction of being named an 18-time NBA All-Star.
He’s also a four-time NBA All-Star MVP, two-time U.S. Olympic gold medalist, an NBA Slam Dunk Champion, 11-time All-NBA First Team recipient, two-time NBA scoring champion and wore numbers 8 and 24, both of which were retired by the Los Angeles Lakers organization.
Bryant is slated to enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. His induction was set for this year but will be delayed because of the spread of the coronavirus.
Bryant’s Father Appreciated Kobe Staying with the Lakers
On January 26, Bryant died in a helicopter crash that took the lives of nine people, including his daughter, Gigi. His death happened the day after LeBron James passed Bryant on the NBA’s all-time scoring list in a game against Philadelphia.
Bryant inspired many including his own father, Joe “Jellybean” Bryant. The elder Bryant played for the Sixers and the Rockets from 1975-83. He also coached the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks and played overseas in France and Italy.
During our interview via Scoop B Radio, Joe Bryant also told me what made Kobe special. “As a fan, just watching him play and putting up all those points and playing at such a high level at such a great organization like the Lakers,” he said.
Bryant continued: “I think that’s probably one of the important things. These kids come out of school and they worry about being a No. 1 pick, No. 2 pick, I think it’s more important that you get with the right organization and Kobe was able to do that and as you see, playing with one organization is really something special.”