Kobe Bryant Officially Announces Retirement

If you’ve watched a Lakers’ game this season, you knew that all the dreams of Kobe Bryant playing beyond this season were likely fantasy. On Sunday, Bryant made it official; this will be his last season playing basketball professionally.

Bryant made the announcement via Derek Jeter’s “The Player’s Tribune” and effectively crashed the site. Similar to Michael Jordan’s 2003 love letter to basketball, Kobe talks about falling in love with the game at six years old, and how his body won’t allow him to take it further. He also says to enjoy the time the two have left together.

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

Of course Kobe would retire with a poem. That’s just the complex NBA superstar he’s proven to be. This is the same guy who sat an Adidas commercial – or was it McDonalds – spewing poetry in Italy.

It’s his love letter to basketball. A “when did you fall in love with hip hop?” moment.

Life in the NBA without Kobe will lose the last bit of connection to the old school, plus one of the best interview sound bites there is.

I’m curious to see Kobe’s transition. He has said in the past that his passion was for creating content in both advertising, and long form documentary like his Showtime “Kobe Bryant’s Muse” project.

His final season is being documented. He’s had cameras following him since pre season.

20 years is a long time to play basketball professionally. Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak revealed that one of his son’s was born the night Kobe played his first game in 1996, now that son is in college.

Lakers fans who attended Sunday night’s game against the Indiana Pacers were given a physical version of the letter.

Of course there’s already a few up on EBay for around $500.

There will be hundreds of think pieces on what Kobe has meant to the NBA and the Lakers, his legacy and thought process, etc. But, for now we should do like the Black Mamba suggested and enjoy his last few months in the L.

A quick glance at Kobe’s career accomplishments:

  • First guard to play 20 years.
  • First guard to play 20 years with one franchise.
  • 5 NBA titles
  • 17-time All-Star
  • 11 First Team All NBA selections
  • Third leading scorer in NBA history
  • Most points in Laker history – currently at 32,670
  • 12-time NBA all-defensive team selection
  • NBA MVP 2007-2008 season
  • Finals MVP 2009, 2010
  • NBA All-Star game MVP four times- 2002, 2007, 2009 (which he shared with Shaq. That was special) and 2011.
  • 1997 Slam Dunk Champion
  • Two Olympic Gold medals (2008 and 2012)

Thank you Kobe.