LOS ANGELES (AFP) - The National Basketball Association published a letter of gratitude to Kobe Bryant on Thursday after the Los Angeles Lakers legend said farewell to the sport with a fairytale 60-point performance.
In a letter entitled "Dear Kobe" on The Players' Tribune website - where Bryant announced his retirement in November last year - the NBA praised the icon for his "passion, commitment, and dedication to basketball".
"Thank you for giving and giving and giving," the letter read.
"Thank you for pushing through even when your body was screaming 'no,' but your mind and your heart kept saying 'yes.'
"For the games that you refused to lose, and those that you always seemed destined to win.
"Thank you for your endless drive ... For 20 years you gave our game all you had, and we are eternally grateful."
Bryant retired from basketball on Wednesday night, bringing the curtain down on a 20-year career with a remarkable display in his final match against the Utah Jazz.