History

This Week In History: Kobe Bryant announces plan to retire at end of 2015-16 season

From NBA.com Staff

On November 29, 2015, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2015-16 season. Bryant shared the news via a poem on The Players’ Tribune, which detailed his everlasting love of basketball:

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.

[…]

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,

Kobe

After making his retirement plans clear, Bryant began one of the most memorable farewell tours in NBA history. Bryant received standing ovations, gifts and more from opposing fans, players and teams around the league as he played his final games.

Bryant finished the tour with perhaps his most incredible performance — scoring 60 points against the Utah Jazz in his final NBA game. It doesn’t get much better than that.

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