Kobe Bryant's NBA record setting 20th season with one franchise, will be his last.
The "Black Mamba" announced his plans to retire after the end of this season in a poem entitled " Dear Basketball", which was posted on The Players Tribune.
''My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it's time to say goodbye,'' Bryant wrote. ''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.''
Bryant's retirement announcement will usher in his farewell tour, something he wasn't looking forward to in the beginning of the season. Interestingly enough, it will begin where his basketball star began to rise, back in Philly. With the Lakers off to a pitiful start (2-13) and headed for a second straight lottery pick, Bryant is making the right decision. Despite his struggles this season, the five-time champion will long be remembered as one of the greatest shooting guards of all-time.
Commissioner Adam Silver released a statement regarding Bryant's announcement:
"With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, 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. Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game. I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories."