Kobe Bryant’s heartwarming retirement poem

20 incredible years spent entirely in Los Angeles is finally coming to a stop.

It’s quite a sad for the Lakers’ fans as Kobe Bryant, arguably one of NBA’s finest shooting guards has finally announced his plan of retirement by the end of the season with an emotional self-composed poem to the Players’ Tribune website.

“I’m ready to let you go,” was one of the lines in his poem.

The Hall of Famer has played for the Lakers since the start of his career and had led the team to win 5 NBA championships- three consecutive championships in 2000-2002 and another two straight wins in 2009 and 2010. He also holds the NBA record for the most seasons with the same team. He even won gold medals with the US basketball team in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics.

Dubbed one of NBA’s living legends in the current basketball scene, Bryant scored a career-high of 81 points in a single game which was in 2008 against the Toronto Raptors. This was the second most points scored in a game in NBA history, close enough to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in 1962.

As much as the fans want to see him continue his action on court, the 37 year-old is sure that his decision to retire is not going to change.

With 20 splendid years with the NBA, and an inspiration to most passionate basketball fanatics of the current generation, he’s proved himself enough and worthy of such. Its time to turn those actions into legacy.

But just like what Magic Johnson said, “There will never be another Kobe Bryant.”

Here’s the full version of his poem:

Dear Basketball,

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

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.

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. 

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,

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