The 17-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star and the Lakers' leading career scorer with more than 32,000 points made his announcement in the form of a poem on on Sunday, reports Xinhua.

He wrote "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."

Bryant, 37, joined the Lakers in 1996 from the team of Lower Merion High School in suburban Philadelphia. The 6-foot-6 star, who is son of former NBA and Italian professional league player Joe Bryant, was the first high school guard to be drafted by the NBA.

At age of 18, he became the youngest player to play in the NBA, a record since broken by Jermaine O'Neal and ex-teammate Andrew Bynum. He was also the youngest player in an NBA starting line-up and the youngest player to win the NBA's All-Star weekend slam dunk contest.

In 2007, at age of 29, Bryant became the youngest NBA player to reach 20,000 career points, since surpassed by another legend, LeBron James. In 2010, he was the youngest player to score 25,000 points. In 2012, he became the youngest player to amass 30,000 points.

In the current season, Bryant's 20th, he is averaging 15.7 points, 3.4 assists and 4.1 rebounds a game.

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