NBA champion Kobe Bryant has announced he is going to hang up his jersey for good after 20 years in the league once the 2015-2016 season ends.
The Black Mamba revealed the headline-generating decision Sunday (November 29) in an open letter titled “Dear Basketball.”
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. (“Dear Basketball”)
Bryant has caught sports fans’ attention this season due to career-low statistics.
Bryant is averaging more field goal attempts per game (a team-high 16.7) than points (15.7). His field-goal percentage and 3-point percentage both rank last in the NBA among qualified players. But despite the rough start to the season, the Lakers have publicly supported Bryant. Lakers coach Byron Scott told ESPN on Friday that he would not bench the 17-time All-Star for his poor play. (ABC 13)
Despite his struggles, the sports veteran is viewed as a Los Angeles Lakers icon.
Bryant, who has played for the Lakers for two decades, is a 17-time All-Star and was the youngest player in league history to reach 30,000 career points at the age of 34. (TIME)