With nearly 19 years in the league we’d like to wish the “Black Mamba,” a nickname he created, a happy 37th birthday.

We can’t deny the impact that Kobe Bryant has had on us as an athlete. He has also had an enormous impact on us with the kicks he’s worn on and off the court. Initially drafted 13th by the Charlotte Hornets at the tender age of 18, Kobe was then traded to the Lakers on draft day for Vlade Divac and of course, the rest is history. He helped bring the Lakers 5 championships so far and is hoping for another (to match the GOAT – Michael Jordan). The last two years we want to forget due to the unfortunate injuries to his Achilles and rotator cuff, but this hasn’t stopped the Mamba from pursuing one last push towards the end of his NBA Career (or so it seems).
Here’s to the 15 All-NBA Team, 12 All-Defensive Team, MVP awards, the Gold medals won for the USA, and the endless buzzer-beaters and SportsCenter highlight(s) you’ve given us (including that 81-point barrage) and counting.

Kobe Bryant circa ’96 – Adidas EQT Top Ten – Image via AP PHOTO
Kobe Adidas Top Ten – Image via SLAM Mag