LOS ANGELES (AP):NBA star Kobe Bryant has decided to retire after this season, ending his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers.The 37-year-old Bryant made the announcement in a post on The Players’ Tribune yesterday. The third-leading scorer in NBA history wrote a poem entitled ‘Dear Basketball’ to announce his decision.”My heart can take the pounding. My mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye,” Bryant wrote. “And that’s OK. I’m ready to let you go. I want you to know now. So we both can savour every moment we have left together. The good and the bad. We have given each other all that we have.”Bryant scored 81 points against Toronto on Jan. 22, 2006, the second highest-scoring performance in NBA history behind Wilt Chamberlain’s 100-point game.Bryant went straight from high school in suburban Philadelphia to the Lakers in 1996, and he earned five championship rings and 17 All-Star selections during two decades with the franchise – the longest tenure with one team in NBA history. Bryant also won two Olympic gold medals.But Bryant’s last three seasons have ended early due to injuries, and he played in only 41 games over the previous two years. He has struggled mightily in the first 15 games of this season, with mostly young teammates on a rebuilding roster, making a career-worst 32 percent of his shots and dealing with pain and exhaustion every day.In recent months, Bryant repeatedly said he didn’t know whether he would play another season, clearly hoping for a rebound in his health and the Lakers’ fortunes.Neither has happened, and the ever-impatient Bryant didn’t wait any longer to decide his future.
One applicant, Jane Yun, 29, said that any teaching job was fine after seeing her expectations lessened after viewing the hundreds of teaching candidates vying for a handful of jobs. Yun’s journey to teaching was delayed – she aspired to be a probations officer and even passed the entrance exam only to get a letter that budget cuts restricted new hiring. “I went into substitute teaching and I really enjoyed it,” Yun said. Dominique Betancourt, 25, said that her priorities changed and said she is willing to teach middle school students to broaden her job search. The duo spent the morning looking at district brochures in the “Candidates Lounge” area before heading down to the interview floor. Betancourt’s interview with West Covina Unified went well, and she expects a phone call from the district for a second interview. Yun interviewed with Bonita Unified for nearly 30 minutes, answering questions about class management and how to introduce new concepts such as fractions to elementary school students. “I think it went pretty smoothly,” Yun said. Recruiters who participated in previous years have hired candidates, but they also doled out advice and a little dose of reality. firstname.lastname@example.org (626) 962-8811, Ext. 2108160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! • Video: Prospective teachersAZUSA – For the hundreds of aspiring teachers pacing the cavernous main floor of the Felix Event Center, their goal was to stay composed – even if the interview was falling apart. On Thursday, the auditorium on the Azusa Pacific University campus was transformed into a version of speed job interviews – rows and tables and chairs filled with job seekers and school district officials looking to inject their schools with new talent. Lynn Pearson, director of the university’s annual “Teacher Interview Day” now in its 13th year, said that 62 school districts from Los Angeles, Riverside and San Bernardino counties registered; local area districts included Arcadia, Azusa, Baldwin Park, Hacienda La Puente, Pasadena, South Pasadena and West Covina. Open teaching jobs ranged from five in Claremont to 12 in Hacienda La Puente. Last year, some students were offered jobs during the day, but the focus is allowing students to access school officials during their job search, Pearson said. Otherwise, the students have to be aggressive on their own, she added. “They usually just drop their resumes off at the district offices,” Pearson said. Even in the tight job market – most recruiters said they were looking to hire science, math and special education teachers – potential employees still have a preference. With more growth in the desert communities, especially in San Bernardino County, prospective teachers want to stay in Los Angeles County, Pearson said.