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As Kobe Bryant makes his victory lap around the country’s arenas after announcing his retirement earlier this week, Good Morning America‘s Robin Roberts got a chance to go one-on-one with the Black Mamba.

Robin immediately asked him, “Why now?

His response? “It’s the right time, there’s no point in belaboring it.” Kobe held strong that it’s better he make the decision than have any outside influences make it for him.

When asked how he knew it was time, Kobe revealed that the decision came during his daily 15 minutes of meditation in the morning. Normally, his mind would constantly drift towards the game, but lately it just wasn’t happening anymore. And that’s when he realized the end was near. However, the thought had been in his mind for the past three years, and Kobe claims it only popped into his head after his career-altering Achilles injury. He then trained hard, came back the next season, and fractured his knee. He then trained hard again, came back, and tore his shoulder. Despite the injuries, Kobe is grateful to have been a Laker for 20 years.

The fact that he stayed with the Lakers his entire career means the world to him, especially since he was a diehard Lakers fan growing up, with Magic Johnson posters and t-shirts filling his room.

He spoke on his decision to address his retirement in a poem, and while he still doesn’t think the poem does it any justice, he felt the need to speak to fans directly to make sure they know how much they mean to him. “We grew up together and that is such a beautiful thing,” he said.

Robin then asked who would make his list of the top five basketball players of all time, and after refusing to name himself, he referenced the people he learned from: Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Hakeem Olajuwon, and Jerry West.

Despite all of his success, he’s only got one regret – not having eight rings.

Watch a clip of the interview above and stay tuned for part two, set to air on Good Morning America tomorrow.


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