He announced his retirement in form of a poem on The Players' Tribune website, bringing to a close one of the most decorated careers in the history of the sport. In the poem titled 'Dear Basketball' The 37 year old wrote;
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.
In a statement Sunday night, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called Bryant “one of the greatest players in the history of our 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.”
Bryant was 17 years old when he was picked 13th overall in the 1996 draft by the Charlotte Hornets, who promptly traded him to the Lakers, the only organization for which he has played in his professional career. He has won five N.B.A. titles and two Olympic gold medals, has been named to 17 All-Star teams and was voted the league’s most valuable player in 2008. He ranks third on the NBA’s career scoring list, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.