Kobe Bryant Retirement: You Won't Believe What The Black Mamba Wrote In His Goodbye Letter To Basketball

Kobe Bryant Retirement
Los Angeles Lakers forward Kobe Bryant speaks at a press conference after the game against the Indiana Pacers at Staples Center. Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

One of basketball's greatest players of all-time has decided this will be his last go around. Los Angeles Lakers legend, Kobe Bryant, announced he will retire at the end of the season.

The 37-year-old shooting guard is in the middle of his 20th NBA season, all with the same team, an NBA record. Bryant made the announcement on Sunday afternoon when an article on Derek Jeter's The Players Tribune, called "Dear Basketball," went live.

Bryant tweeted a link to the article and within minutes the website, that Bryant is also an investor in, crashed as fans flocked in the millions to read Kobe's goodbye letter to the sport of basketball.

"This season is all I have left to give," Bryant wrote in the letter, which read more like a poem.

Bryant's announcement is not much of a surprise, the Lakers have been treating his 20th and season as if it was his last all year long, and Bryant himself has said he would not return next season unless "something changes." According to Bryant, nothing did.

"A decision like this, you can't make based on outside circumstances," he said in his post-game press conference after the Lakers lost 107-103 to the Indiana Pacers. "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."

The 17-time NBA All-Star, five-time NBA Champion, two-time NBA Finals MVP, two-time Olympic gold medalist and NBA MVP will walk away from the game as the second leading scorer in NBA history and one of the greatest players in the history of the sport.

"My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it's time to say goodbye," Bryant wrote in his letter. "And that's OK. I'm ready to let you go."

Bryant still plans to play in the Lakers final 66 games, hoping to finish a complete season healthy for the first time in three years. In the meantime, the bittersweet reality that one of the icon's of the sport is on his farewell tour should hit a sad note in fans around the globe, but the good news is there's still time to see the Black Mamba in action before it's all said and done.

The complete letter can be read in its entirety below:

"When we first met I was just a kid.

Some of you took me in. Some of you didn’t.

But all of you helped e become the player and man in front of you today.

You gave me confidence to put my anger to good use.

Your doubt gave me determination to prove you wrong.

You witnessed my fears morph into strength.

Your rejection taught me courage.

Whether you view me as a hero or a villain, please know I poured every emotion, every bit of passion and my entire self into being a Laker.

What you’ve done for me is far greater than anything I’ve done for you.

I knew that each minute of each game I wore purple and gold.

I honor it as I play today and for the rest of this season.

My love for this city, this team and for each of you will never fade.

Thank you for this incredible journey." - Kobe Bryant

 

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Michael Duarte

Michael J. Duarte is a Los Angeles based writer. Born and raised in the City of Angels, Michael did his undergraduate work at the University of California Santa Barbara and a graduate program at the University of Southern California. Michael was awarded the Paul Lazarus Screenwriting Scholarship Award in 2004 and the Corwin Writing Award for his feature screenplay, "Chasing 4:00" in 2005. In addition to Sports writing, Michael is an avid marathon runner and fan of the Magic Bullet blender.