LA Lakers veteran shooting guard Kobe Bryant has announced that he will retire once the 2015-2016 basketball season is over.
He told the Players’ Tribune: “My body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”
The 37-year-old has had an illustrious career in the sport and has remained with the LA Lakers ever since he was traded by Charlotte Hornets during the 1996 draft. Bryant has scored 32,683 points during his time with the Lakers and ranks third in the NBA’s all-time list.
Bryant has been crowned NBA champion five-times and is also a two-time Olympic gold medallist.
In his 1,293 NBA matches he has averaged more than 25 points per game. He is also the only player to have spent 20 consecutive seasons with one team in the NBA. In addition to this, Bryant is just one of four players to have scored over 25,000 points, 6,000 rebounds and 6,000 assists in his career.
Much of Bryant’s recent seasons have been hindered with injury and has been unable to replicate some of the form he has once shown. He has averaged 15.7 points so far this season with the Lakers only winning two of their last 16 games.
Should the Lakers fail to make the play-offs next year, his final game will be against the Utah Jazz at home on April 13th.
A poem written by Bryant entitled ‘Dear Basketball’ was handed out to all fans at they arrived at the Staples Center for the home game against the Indiana Pacers on Sunday (29th Nov) thanking his fans and also telling them “this season is all I have left to give.”
Some of Kobe Bryant’s career highlights include:
- 5x NBA Champion
- 2x NBA Finals MVP
- NBA Most Valuable Player
- 17x NBA All-Star
- LA Lakers all-time leading scorer
- 2nd most points in a game: 81 against the Toronto Raptors on January 22, 2006.