kobe-bryant-3-LAKERS legend Kobe Bryant announced his retirement today in an emotional open letter.

In the sad note he calls “Dear Basketball” Kobe reveals the 2015-16 season will be his last wearing purple and gold.

Writing on The Players’ Tribute website, Kobe, 37, writes: “Dear Basketball, From the moment I started rolling my dad’s tube sock and shooting imaginary game-winning shots … I fell in love with you.”

He goes on: “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.”

The Lakers All-star guard ends the letter with: “I’ll always be that kid with the rolled up socks. Garbage can in the corner, :05 on the clock, ball in my hands. 5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1. Love you always, Kobe.”

After joining the Lakers when he was 17 in 1996, Kobe played 20 seasons with the club and won five NBA titles.

His announcement came as a huge shock for fans and even blindsided coach Byron Scott.

The Lakers tweeted: “Byron Scott on Kobe’s decision to retire: “Sad. We talked about it last night. I told him it kind of shocked me when he told me.”

TMI.BUZZ kind of, sort of predicted this weeks ago. Watch our video where Kobe looks as if he’s seen better days on the court!

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