NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers announced his plans to retire from the game Sunday in a poem for The Players’ Tribune.
You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.
And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other All that we have
Rumors of his retirement swirled earlier this year, but had never been confirmed until now. With this, the 2015-2016 season will be last time we’ll be seeing Bryant on the court.
NBA commission Adam Silver also released a statement confirming Bryant’s announcement:
“With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game. Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game.
“I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories.”
In lieu of his current performance on the court, this could be welcoming news for fans. Instead of focusing on his struggle to maintain his usual high stats, Bryant’s legacy as one of the best to play the game can take front and center.
The full poem can be read here.