6:00pm: Kobe Bryant announced that this will be his final season in a letter published in The Players’ Tribune.
“This season is all I have left to give,” Bryant writes. “My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”
Bryant, 37, is undoubtedly one of the greatest players of all time, but injuries in recent seasons have taken a toll on the superstar’s body, as he alludes to in his letter. Bryant has spent his entire 20-year career with the Lakers. He has won five NBA championships and earned MVP honors in 2008.
The news does not come as a surprise and confirms widespread speculation that this would be his final season. What’s more, according to Lakers GM Mitch Kupchak, Bryant signaled to the organization that this would be the end of his storied career back in the spring. Kupchak then publicly said on multiple occasions that the Lakers expected Bryant to retire.
Bryant, 37, in the final year of a two-year deal that will pay him $25MM this season, entered Sunday’s game against the Pacers averaging 15.7 points per game on a career-worst 31.5% shooting percentage. Bryant remains the NBA’s highest-paid player. Not including endorsements, Bryant earned $303,238,062 in his career, according to Basketball-Reference.com.
Bryant’s field goal percentage and 3-point percentage both rank last in the NBA among qualified players. Despite his struggles, the Lakers have publicly supported Bryant and coach Byron Scott said the future Hall of Famer would not be benched. “I would never, never, never do that,” Scott told the media after practice on Friday. “That’s not an option whatsoever. No, that’s not an option.”
Bryant was drafted out of high school by the Hornets with the 13th overall pick in 1996 but was traded to the Lakers. He currently is third on the NBA’s all-time scoring list, behind only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Karl Malone.
5 thoughts on “Kobe Bryant To Retire After Current Season”
thanks for the great career and memories Kobe.
Now he’ll get the farewell tour he said he didn’t want.
He actually won’t get one because he doesn’t like it I saw somewhere else
There is a lot of mileage there. Not many people work harder than Kobe. With all he did to come back from the injuries, his body probably needs a little bit of rest, and is breaking down b/c of it. Despite my feelings that he is massively overrated, there is no denying that Kobe Bryant is one of the 12-18 best players to ever play the game of basketball. Its weird thinki9ng about the fact that he has played 20 seasons. I can remember his whole career so vividly. For me, he was that guy I loved to “hate.” You always had to respect his basketball ability though. Maybe I would argue a lot about his place in history, so I made it seem that I had some sort of disdain for him. I never did though. And I feel as though my thoughts of him have changed a little over the last few years as well. He had one of the best years of his career in what was essentially his final full season. However, its some of the things he has said since then that has caused me to take a step back and look at my opinion of Kobe Bryant. Its clear to me that he realized some of the mistakes he made. Looking forward, I think its obvious that there will never be another Kobe Bryant, and its going to be weird when he is no longer in the NBA. In some ways, it kind of reminds me when Jeter retired