Monday, November 30, 2015

Kobe Bryant announces retirement at end of current NBA season

After 20 years in a Lakers uniform and a lifetime in basketball, Kobe Bryant determined that his aching body and his passion for the game had both grown weaker than his excitement about the future.

''I had to just accept the fact that I don't want to do this anymore, and I'm OK with that

''There's so much beauty in the pain of this thing. It sounds really weird to say that, but I appreciate the really, really tough times as much as I appreciate the great times. It's important to go through that progression, because I think that's where you really learn about the self

''If I had a burning desire to continue to play, I would. I wouldn't be second-guessing. I wouldn't be on the fence. I feel very solid in my decision.

"There's nothing I would love more than to be able to play this entire season, to go through all of these tough times, to be able to suit up and play on the road in these buildings for the last time.

''I don't want to get too Zen-like. But honestly, when I'm sitting in meditation, my mind starts drifting, and it always drifted toward basketball, always. And it doesn't do that now. It does that sometimes. It doesn't do that all the time, and to me, that was really the first indicator that this game is not something I can obsess over for much longer," Bryant said.

General manager Mitch Kupchak acknowledged frustration with the Lakers' struggles in Bryant's final two seasons.

''Clearly we're not playing at the kind of level that a player of Kobe's age and experience finds challenging, kind of like there's no light at the end of the tunnel.

''So I'm not surprised that he would make the announcement now. I think the game will be easier for him now. I think he'll be able to enjoy the rest of the season," Kupchak said.

"Kobe Bryant is one of the greatest players in the history of our game,'' NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said. ''Whether competing in the Finals or hoisting jump shots after midnight in an empty gym, Kobe has an unconditional love for the game.''

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