American Sports

The Poem That Kobe Bryant Wrote To Announce His Retirement

The Poem That Kobe Bryant Wrote To Announce His Retirement

*This article was originally published in November 2015*

After 20 years in the NBA, Kobe Bryant has decided to call it a day. The LA Lakers star has been beset by injuries in recent years and he has now decided to confirm what many had expected, this season will be his last.

With five NBA championships and a staggering 32,670 points, Bryant has proven himself as one of basketball's greats with just Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone ahead of him in the all-time scoring charts. And while he hasn't always been a favourite with opposition fans, there have been notable ovations for Bryant around America even before his final decision was officially made.

Bryant published a poem on The Player's Tribune to announce the decision.

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,
Kobe

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We're not fully on board with that kind of thing (we can't imagine Alan Brogan whipping out the poetry when the time comes to announce him retirement) but we won't be too critical. The injuries certainly took their toll but he'll still go down as one of basketball's very best.

See also: Odell Beckham Jr Pulls In Another Ridiculous One-Handed TD Catch

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