We knew this day would come eventually, we just didn’t know when. After months and months of dodging the question, The Black Mamba has officially announced that he will be hanging up his kicks soon.
The 37 year old NBA star has played with the Los Angeles Lakers his entire 20 year career. In an open letter titled “Dear Basketball”, Kobe announced that this is his final season as a pro-athlete.
“My heart can take the pounding,” Kobe writes. “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.”
In his letter Kobe says that the 2015-16 season will be his last. “This season is all I have left to give,” he writes. Kobe, who has been plagued with injuries over the last few seasons, also references his love for the game since he was a young boy. Read Kobe’s entire letter below:
From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
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,