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Kobe Bryant Announces He Will Retire From Basketball At The End Of Season

After two decades with the NBA, Bryant wrote a poem to the sport saying that he will retire at the end of the 2015-2016 season.

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Jeff Chiu / AP

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:

Dear Basketball,

From the moment

I started rolling my dad's tube socks

And shooting imaginary

Game-winning shots

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

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