Kobe Bryant of The Los Angeles Lakers is RetiringKobe Bryant, who has helped the Lakers win five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, 81-point game that ranks as the second-best in NBA history and more than 32,000 points and 17-time All-Star over a 20-year career spent entirely in Los Angeles, announced Sunday on The Players' Tribune website that he will retire after this season, writing that "this season is all I have left to give."
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.
From the moment I started rolling my dad’s tube socks And shooting imaginary Game-winning shots In the Great Western Forum I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you.
A love so deep I gave you my all — From my mind & body To my spirit & soul.
As a six-year-old boy Deeply in love with you I never saw the end of the tunnel. I only saw myself Running out of one.
And so I ran. I ran up and down every court After every loose ball for you. You asked for my hustle I gave you my heart Because it came with so much more.
I played through the sweat and hurt Not because challenge called me But because YOU called me. I did everything for YOU Because that’s what you do When someone makes you feel as Alive as you’ve made me feel.
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.
And we both know, no matter what I do next I’ll always be that kid With the rolled up socks Garbage can in the corner :05 seconds on the clock Ball in my hands. 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
Love you always, KobeBryant addressed the media after Sunday's 107-103 loss to the Indiana Pacers, saying that he made his decision "a while" ago.
"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.
"It takes a weight off my shoulders and everybody else's."
The man he grew up idolizing helped him come to that decision.
"[Michael Jordan] is actually one of the first people that I told over the summer," Bryant said Sunday, via ESPN Los Angeles. "We've been in frequent contact. We had some laughs, went back and forth about it. But the important thing for him, he said, 'Just enjoy it. No matter what, just enjoy it. Don't let anybody take that away from you, no matter what happens, good or bad. Enjoy it, man.'"
Bryant, who turned 37 in August, also explained why he decided that his 20th NBA season would be his last. He specifically pointed out how strange it felt for him to be sharing the court with players born after 1996, the year he began his NBA career.
"We were playing Portland and a kid from the bench said something to me like, 'We're going to beat you guys tonight,'" Bryant said, via ESPN. "And I looked at him and I said, 'I got one rule. If you weren't born when I started playing, you can't talk trash. It's a simple rule.' And he looked at me and said, 'Yes, sir.' No argument."
Bryant added that at times if felt weird sharing a locker room with players nearly 20 years younger than him.