LOS ANGELES—On Sunday, November 29, Lakers player Kobe Bryant announced his plans to retire from professional basketball at the end of the season.
The announcement was made on the Players’ Tribune in the form of a poem called “Dear Basketball.” In the poem, Kobe writes:
“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.”
Bryant has played professional basketball since the age of 17, when he was picked as the 13th overall in a draft by the Charlotte Hornets. He was immediately traded to the Lakers, which is where he has remained throughout his career.
Bryant has won five NBA titles and two Olympic Gold Medals. He is currently ranked 3rd in the NBA career swing list. He was also named as the Most Valuable Player back in 2008.
Throughout his career Bryant has hit some bumps in the road. Back in 2003, he was accused of sexual assault, where he pleaded not guilty and charges were dropped.
Bryant has only played 41 of 164 games in the past two seasons due to several injuries. First he tore his Achilles tendon and then he also injured his knee and shoulder. During the 2014-2015 season, Bryant has been struggling only averaging 15.7 points a game. It has also been noted that Bryant is only shooting 31.5 percent from the field and 19.5 percent from three-point range.
He is currently the league’s highest paid player this season, earning a $25 million salary.
The Lakers have only 67 games left to play before the end of the 2015-2016 basketball season. Their last game is scheduled to be held on April 13 at the Staples Center and will be played against the Utah Jazz.