By ANIKA REED
After five NBA championship rings, 17 All-Star games and 20 seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers, the legendary Kobe Bryant announced his retirement following the 2015-2016 season.
Bryant's big announcement came Sunday by way of a poem he released on The Players' Tribune. Fans at Sunday's Lakers game in the Staples Center also received hard copies of his "Dear Basketball" letter.
The 37-year old shooting guard is considered one of the all-time greats in the league. Although initially drafted by the Charlotte Hornets, Bryant's name has become synonymous with the Lakers, and he is the team's all-time leading scorer.
He has led the league in scoring twice and is currently ranked third on both the all-time regular season scoring and the all-time postseason scoring lists. Bryant is also a two-time NBA Finals MVP, and has a career average of 25.4 points per game.
Bryant's NBA comrades sent out words of encouragement, sadness and gratitude for his accomplishments in the league.