This is why he'll never truly leave the game. If you're a Lakers fan, you might have seen the signs guard Kobe Bryant would begin making his graceful exit from the NBA at the end of this season. What was genuinely surprising, though, was how Bryant made the big announcement. In the form of a moving, poetic tribute to his very first love: basketball. The simple poem titled “Dear Basketball" posted on November 29 can be read here, courtesy of The Players' Tribute. [caption id="attachment_120" align="aligncenter" width="300"] source: theplayerstribune.com[/caption] It's a touching reminder that for Kobe, the mega-superstar who's cemented his legacy as an all-time great after 20 seasons of professional playing, the sport is still just as pure and beautiful as it was when he practiced his clutch game-winning shots many years ago with a garbage can tucked in the corner, counting down an imaginary clock. Kobe's days in the NBA are dwindling, but he shows us that dreams don't die when they are finally fulfilled. Once real they become a part of who we are, and we keep on living them. Thanks for everything, Kobe. Your passion for the game will be missed.