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.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1
5 4 3 2 1
Love you always,
With 17 NBA All-Star selections, an NBA MVP, five NBA championships with the Lakers, two Olympic gold medals and a relentless（坚持不懈的） work ethic, Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game. Whether competing in the finals or hoisting （举起）jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love（无条件的热爱） for the game. I join Kobe’s millions of fans around the world in congratulating him on an outstanding NBA career and thank him for so many thrilling memories（令人激动的回忆）.”
Bryant, a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer who is third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, has a career-worst 31.5 shooting percentage through his first 12 games of the season on a Lakers team that has the second worst record in the league.
Bryant was drafted out of high school with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA Draft by the Charlotte Hornets but was traded shortly after the Lakers for Serbian veteran Vlade Divac.
He has appeared in 17 All-Star games, was named the Most Valuable Player for the 2007-08 regular season and landed MVP honours in the 2009 and 2010 Finals when he led the Lakers to consecutive championships.
During his career, Bryant made a habit of draining game-winning shots despite being double or triple-teamed by opponents and has established a reputation for being one of the best closers in the NBA.
Bryant came into the NBA straight out of high school, won the dunk contest at All-Star weekend as a rookie, played in the All-Star game for the first time the following year and a star was fast born. The 81 points he scored against Toronto on January 22, 2006, are second only to Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game in NBA history, and he’s the only player to spend 20 consecutive seasons with the same team.
Born – August 23, 1978
Age – 37
Birthplace – Philadelphia, Pennyslvania, USA
Height – 6-feet-6 (1.98m)
NBA Draft – 13th pick in 1996
Teams – Los Angeles Lakers (1996-current)
NBA Titles – 5 (2000, 2001, 2002, 2009, 2010)
NBA Most Valuable Player – 1 (2008)
NBA Finals Most Valuable Player – 2 (2009, 2010)
NBA All-Star – 17 (1998, 2000-2015)
NBA scoring champion – 2 (2006, 2007)
Olympic gold medals – 2 (2008, 2012)