Los Angeles: Kobe Bryant announced Sunday that this would be his final NBA season, the 37-year-old Los Angeles Lakers star walking away as one of the greatest legends in basketball history.
The five-time NBA champion, who ranks third in all-time scoring with 32,670 points, said in a first-person poem on the Players Tribune website that “this season is all I have left to give.”
Bryant spent his entire 20-season career with the Lakers, the first NBA player to stay so long with the same club.
But Bryant, a member of two Olympic gold medal squads, has been nagged by injuries in recent campaigns and has struggled to find form this season, the Lakers being off to a miserable 2-13 start.
“My body knows it’s time to say goodbye,” Bryant said in his poem, an open love letter to his sport entitled “Dear Basketball”.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver was quick to respond to Bryant’s announcement, the signal that one of the greatest careers in the history of the sport was coming to an end.
“With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP (2008), 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,” Silver said.