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Kobe Bryant wins Academy Award

Kobe Bryant

On Sunday, at the 90th annual Academy Awards, Kobe Bryant stood on the stage of the Dolby Theater, accepting film’s highest honor.

He and his director and animator, Glen Keane, won the Oscar® for Best Animated Short Film. The short, named “Dear Basketball,” is an animated re-telling of Bryant’s poem of the same name. The poem, originally published in The Players’ Tribune, was written in honor of his final season in the NBA.

In “Dear Basketball,” Kobe relives falling in love with the game. He talks about how he gave basketball everything inside of him, and what it gave him in return. Bryant laments that his heart and mind are still willing, yet his body is unable.

“I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have. ” (Kobe Bryant, Dear Basketball)

Up against the likes of Pixar, and a short based on a book by legendary children’s author Roald Dahl, Bryant’s five minute short emerged victorious. In an interview after the Oscar® win, Bryant said winning this award felt better than winning a championship.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant and Glen Keane deliver their acceptance speech. (Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock).

In his speech, Kobe referenced the controversy regarding Fox News journalist Laura Ingraham taking offense to LeBron James’ willingness to discuss politics. He says, “…as basketball players, we are just supposed to shut up and dribble,” using Ingraham’s own words. “But I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.”

He does, indeed, do more than dribble, but he was pretty good at that, too.

Kobe Bryant’s 20-year NBA career solidly puts him in contention as one of the greatest to ever play the sport.

He has five NBA Finals victories in seven appearances, winning Finals MVP in 2009 and 2010. He won the NBA’s MVP award in 2008. Bryant was an 18-time All-Star, and took home the All-Star Game MVP four times, along with one Slam Dunk Contest championship.

Kobe led the NBA in scoring twice, in 2006 and 2007. He scored 60 points in his final game, an NBA record. He also owns the distinction of being the only player in league history to have two numbers retired by the same team.

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant celebrates winning an NBA championship. (Photo by Garrett Ellwood/Getty Images)

Other NBA players took to Twitter to congratulate Bryant on his win. Magic Johnson, LeBron James and Shaquille O’Neal showed their support. O’Neal even added, “I’m jealous lol.”

Kobe is the first athlete to win a championship in his sport and land an Oscar®. However, Steve Tisch, Chairman and Vice President of the New York Giants, does own an Academy Award for Best Picture for “Forrest Gump,” and a Super Bowl ring.

It’s clear that Kobe Bryant is not satisfied with simply being one of the best basketball players to ever live. He is also reportedly writing novels, and wants to continue telling stories in many different mediums now that his sports career is over.

You can read “Dear Basketball” on The Players’ Tribune’s website here. You can also watch the Academy Award winning short film here, courtesy of go90, who distributed the film.

Featured image by Getty Images

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