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:
From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
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,
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.