Most figured this would be Kobe Bryant’s last season, and the man himself confirmed that Sunday with a poem penned to The Players’ Tribune titled “Dear Basketball.” Here’s a snippet:
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.
Bryant hasn’t been the same player since he tore his Achilles at the end of the 2012-13 season. He’s dealt with several other major injuries since then, and this entire year has been a struggle for Kobe and the 2-13 Lakers.
Bryant is averaging 15.7 points, 4.1 rebounds and 3.4 assists, but he’s shooting a wretched 31.5 percent overall and 19.5 percent from three. He’s still taking nearly 17 shots and seven three-pointers per game despite his shooting woes.
However, as ugly as Bryant’s career is ending, he’ll be mostly remembered for his greatness in his prime years. NBA commissioner Adam Silver released a statement about that greatness:
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver on Kobe's retirement pic.twitter.com/tSUtJj0dv0
— AP (@Ananth_Pandian) November 30, 2015
Bryant will go down as one of the best players of all time, and arguably the second-best shooting guard ever behind Michael Jordan. Kobe is third on the all-time scoring list with 32,670 points, and he’s racked up numerous other accomplishments throughout his illustrious 20-year career.
The NBA won’t be the same without Kobe Bean Bryant.