The long, at times exceptional, at others wildly controversial career of Kobe Bryant is set to draw to a close.
“You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dreamAnd I’ll always love you for it.But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.This season is all I have left to give.My heart can take the poundingMy mind can handle the grindBut my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”“And that’s OK.I’m ready to let you go.I want you to know nowSo we both can savor every moment we have left together.The good and the bad.We have given each otherAll that we have.”
Bryant’s contract with the Lakers was set to expire at the end of this season, and it was long speculated that it would not be renewed. Bryant’s physical prowess had significantly diminished in recent years due to injuries and age, and his on-court performances so far this year have been particularly well below standard.
Kobe was selected in the 1996 NBA Draft directly out of High School, becoming the first guard ever to enter the NBA without going through the US college system.
“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognise now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did. After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.”
The 2015-16 Lakers are extremely unlikely to make the NBA Playoffs, based on current form, meaning that – barring injury – Kobe Bryant’s final game will take place against the Utah Jazz at the Lakers home Staples Centre on April 14th.