November 29, 2015 08:05 PM

Los Angeles Lakers star guard Kobe Bryant has announced the end of his NBA career.

“This season is all I have left to give,” Bryant, 37, wrote in a statement posted on The Players Tribune.

“My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”

Kobe Bryant
Juan Ocampo/Getty

In his 20th season with the Lakers, the star is struggling, according to SI.com, averaging under 16 points per game on 31.1 percent shooting. The Lakers are 2 13 and in last place in the Western Conference.

Bryant’s full statement is an emotional ode to the game:

Dear Basketball,

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all –
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And 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 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.
We have given each other
All that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 4 3 2 1

Love you always,
Kobe

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