Kobe Bryant, who plays for the Los Angeles Lakers, announced that he is retiring from the game in a poem titled, "Dear Basketball."
The 37-year-old posted the poem in The Players' Tribune on Sunday, writing about his love for basketball since he was just a young boy, but that he is "ready to let go."
Bryant had said he was considering making his 20th season his last in recent weeks, according to the Associated Press.
In April 2013, Bryant tore an Achilles' tendon, which was followed by knee and shoulder injuries that have limited his playing the last two seasons, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it's time to say goodbye," Bryant wrote.
During the past two decades, Bryant has earned 17 All-Star selections, five championship rings, and two Olympic gold medals, the AP reports.
Read the full announcement from Bryant here:
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.
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