Kobe Bryant, a five-time NBA champion and 17-time league all-star, will retire after this season—a record-setting twentieth—with the Los Angeles Lakers, he announced last night (November 29). And so much for dumb jocks: He did it with a poem!

Here is Kobe Bryant's basketball-retirement poem, in completion, via The Players' Tribune:

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,

ESPN staff writer Arash Markazi tweeted that the athlete answered subsequent press conference questions in three different languages (worldly) and observed "There's beauty in [retirement]. It's the natural progression of growth. No sadness." The Bard nods along approvingly from the afterlife.

So, what's up next for Bryant? A Sports Illustrated feature in January predicted he'd have a future as an analyst upon hanging up his high tops. But after appearing on Taylor Swift's stage this summer, a tenure in Hollywood might not be completely out of the question...

Lakers fans, what do you think of Kobe's departure? Sound off in the comments below.

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