After being a legendary figure in the NBA for the last 20 years, Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant will be officially retiring from the game of basketball after this season. He announced his retirement through The Players’ Tribune last night with a poem titled “Dear Basketball,” which tells of his rise to basketball stardom. He states that the game of basketball “gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream/and I’ll always love you for it” and that he knows the end is nearing in stating “My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

This year has not been an easy one for Bryant, with low scoring games and numerous off-days being given to the 37-year-old already haunting the NBA legend. With this, he knew the time to retire was well on the way hence his announcement to the world that he would be leaving the game. “I’ve known for a while,” Bryant said. “A decision like this, you can’t make that decision based on outside circumstances. It has to be an internal decision, and finally I’ve decided to accept that I can’t actually do this anymore, and I’m OK with that.”

Spending his entire career on the Lakers, he has led the team to five NBA championships with a trio in 2000-02 and in 2009-10, being the Finals MVP in the latter championships. He also won the NBA MVP in 2008 as well as being a 17-time All-Star. He is the all-time leading scorer for the Lakers with 32,683 points under his belt currently. He has also helped the USA men’s national basketball team win two Olympic gold medals in 2008 and 2012.

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