Basketball

Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant to retire at end of season

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Five-time NBA champion Kobe Bryant has announced he will retire from basketball at the end of the season.

The 37-year-old, who has played all 20 years of his career with the Los Angeles Lakers, broke the news through a poem entitled 'Dear Basketball' on the Players' Tribune website.

"You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream. And I'll always love you for it," it read.

"But I can't love you obsessively for much longer. This season is all I have left to give.

"My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But 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 now. So we both can savor every moment we have left together. The good and the bad."

Bryant was the NBA MVP in 2008, is a 17-time All-Star and has appeared in the All-NBA Team on 15 occasions.

Despite struggling to reach those heights in recent seasons after a spate of injuries, Bryant will end his glittering career third on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

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