The 2015-2016 NBA season will be Kobe Bryant‘s last. The five-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers announced the news in a poem on The Players’ Tribune, aptly called, “Dear Basketball.” The poem periodically shut down the internet, as viewers flooded the site to read the farewell.
Kobe’s 20th season is capped with NBA milestone moments that will last far beyond the last time he suits up for the Lakers next spring. His five NBA titles include three wins with Shaquille O’ Neal in 2000, 2001, and 2002. He won back to back titles in 2009-2010, in which he was named the Most Valuable Player for both championships. In his farewell, the 37 year-old emphasized that he wanted to savor the final moments of his NBA career, with all his focus on the game of basketball.
Kobe’s poem wraps with a hint at the future, but he lets fans know that he’ll forever be the kid on the court in love with the game:
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
We salute you, Kobe.
23 Throwback Photos Of The 2015 NBA Finals Players
1. Iman Shumpert chillin' with his four brothers.Source: 1 of 11
2. Anderson Varejao back in the day.Source: 2 of 11
3. J.R. Smith rocking a fresh cut.Source: 3 of 11
4. Matthew Dellavedova hitting the court as a young baller.Source:Getty 4 of 11
5. Kevin Love back in 2007 at the ESPY Awards.Source:Getty 5 of 11
6. Brendan Haywood playing for North Carolina.Source:Getty 6 of 11
7. James Michael McAdoo and his big sis.Source: 7 of 11
8. David Lee having a good time on the court in his college days.Source: 8 of 11
9. Festus Ezeli back home in Nigeria.Source: 9 of 11
10. Andrew Bogut gets into the game during his NCAA days.Source:Getty 10 of 11
11. Harrison Barnes celebrates his little sis on National Sibling Day.Source: 11 of 11