“I asked (former U.S. sprinter) Michael Johnson the same question, ‘why did you retire when you were on top?'. He said the same -- he had done everything he had wanted to do in athletics so there was no reason to stay in the sport. Now I understand what he means."
Bolt completed a 'treble treble' of 100m, 200m and 4x100m Olympic titles at the 2016 Rio Games, but had his 2008 relay gold stripped last month after team mate Nesta Carter's re-tested sample showed traces of a banned substance.
Bolt collects Laureus award, as Biles wins women's prize
Carter has said he will appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
The 30-year-old Bolt fired his team of international 'All Stars' to victory in the inaugural Nitro Athletics Series in Melbourne last week.
He ran his first individual race of the year, burning away from a modest field for an easy win in the 150m sprint.
“I just wanted to run and to be part of it," he said. "I had to take it easy because I wasn’t at the level I would usually be. It was the first time I had competed at this time of the year.”
Bolt claimed the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year award for a fourth time on Tuesday beating back-to-back Olympic 5,000 and 10,000 metres gold medal winner Mo Farah and double Olympic tennis champion Andy Murray to the accolade.
Real Madrid and Portugal forward Cristiano Ronaldo and basketball duo Stephen Curry and LeBron James were also shortlisted.