HANG TIME NEW JERSEY — No more speculation.
This will be Kobe Bryant‘s final season in the NBA.
Bryant announced his forthcoming retirement via a poem entitled “Dear Basketball” on the Player’s Tribune website.
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.
Bryant will finish his career as the third leading scorer in NBA history, a 17 or 18-time All-Star, and a five-time champion. But injuries and age have forced him to miss 126 games over the last two-plus seasons, and his field goal percentage of 31.5 percent in on pace to be the worst the league has seen in more than 50 years.