The Los Angeles Lakers have been left in limbo over the past few years without a clear indication when Kobe Bryant would officially retire. Now it appears the fans and the storied franchise know when his Hall-of-Fame-caliber career will be coming to an end.
After endless speculation surrounding Kobe’s future in the NBA, the five-time NBA champion announced his intentions to retire after the 2015-16 NBA season on Sunday.
Bryant took to Players’ Tribune to let the world know he’ll be walking away once this season officially comes to an end for the Lakers via ESPN:
Kobe Bryant announced Sunday on the Players’ Tribune website that he will retire after this season, saying “this season is all I have left to give.”
In a piece entitled “Dear Basketball,” the 37-year-old Bryant wrote that the sport of basketball “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,” Bryant wrote. “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.”
At this point, it seems as though Bryant will not be going out with a sixth NBA championship or a final playoff run. The Lakers continue to struggle as the team rebuilds with promising young talent in Julius Randle, D’Angelo Russell, and Jordan Clarkson.
Despite how his career in the NBA ends next year, Bryant will leave behind an incredible legacy that will live on forever in Los Angeles. Kobe has been the cornerstone for the Lakers franchise for two decades and will continue to be the example of basketball excellence in one of the greatest organizations in all of sports.
With Bryant announcing his intentions to walk away from the game this season, Kobe will play his final NBA game at the Staples Center on April 13 against the Utah Jazz.