The NBA legend made the announcement hours before Sunday's game, writing in a poem: "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."
The Philadelphia native dominated the sport for two decades, entering the NBA directly from high school and playing for the Lakers for 20 years -- his entire career.
Kobe's accomplishments speak for themselves: He won five NBA titles, was a 17-time All Star and earned two Olympic gold medals.
Here are some of his best performances, according to ESPN NBA reporters:
2. Then in the 2000 NBA Finals, Shaq fouled out towards the end of the game, and Kobe stepped up, bringing the Lakers a crucial Game 4 win.
5. And of course, in January 2006, Kobe achieved an 81-point game -- the second-most points scored by an individual player in NBA history.
Watch Robin Roberts’ exclusive interview with Kobe Bryant on “Good Morning America” on Wednesday.
As Kobe's career comes to a close, here's what other NBA players have to say: