According to ESPN, Kobe Bryant, who helped the Lakers win five NBA championships over a 20-year career spent entirely in Los Angeles, announced Sunday on The Players' Tribune that he will retire after this season, declaring, "This season is all I have left to give." In a piece titled "Dear Basketball," the 37-year-old wrote in the form of a poem that the sport "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."
Lakers coach Byron Scott said Bryant will play in Sunday's game against the Indiana Pacers and emphasized that the star guard's "purpose is to finish out this season and play." "I think he still loves this game," Scott told reporters. "He still has a passion for it. He's still a competitive young man." With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement. "