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Kobe Bryant retiring, announces the news in a poem

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers waves to the crowd after defeating the Brooklyn Nets,104-98, at the Barclays Center on November 6, 2015 in Brooklyn. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Mike Stobe

Kobe Bryant will retire at the end of this season, he announced in an emotional poem.

"I fell in love with you," the Los Angeles Lakers star wrote in "Dear Basketball," a poem posted to the Players Tribune website. "A love so deep I gave you my all / From my mind & body / To my spirit & soul."

Bryant said that he has given basketball his heart, but that he's ready to let go of the game.

"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," he wrote.

Bryant was drafted to the Lakers in 1996 and has played for the Los Angeles team ever since.


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