The NBA will lose a legend.
Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant announced Sunday night he’ll retire after the 2015-16 season. The 37-year-old made the announcement in a poem entitled “Dear Basketball” and published on The Players Tribune.
Here’s a brief excerpt:
“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.”
NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement shortly after Kobe’s announcement.
Lakers fans attending Sunday’s game against Indiana Pacers received a special gift.
Bryant, who turned 37 before the season began, has struggled mightily this season. He averaged just 15.7 points per game while shooting a career-low 32 percent from the floor on a Lakers team that sat at the bottom of the Western Conference with a 2-13 record entering Sunday.
Yet Bryant’s recent struggles — marked by injury issues that limited him to just 41 games over the last two seasons — hardly take away from his massive list of accomplishments: five NBA championships, 17 All-Star appearances and one NBA MVP award, to name just a few, during a 20-year career, all with the Lakers.
Thumbnail photo via Jayne Kamin-Oncea/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant (24) listens to the National Anthem before the game against the Portland Trail Blazers at Staples Center.