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
His wife, Vanessa Bryant also posted a sweet message for the MVP on Instagram:
You can walk away knowing you’ve always played with everything you have, babe. I’m so proud of you. I’m proud of everything you’ve given to all of your fans even when you weren’t feeling your best. You’ve always pushed through it because you played for those fans that sacrificed so much to see you play in person. You mean so much to us all. I’m so excited to see what God has in store for us as a family now that one chapter is closing and new ones are opening. We love you!@KobeBryant
We salute you, Kobe.