Kobe Bryant's Oscar: Looking back at Lakers legend's 'Dear Basketball' win

KABC logo
Monday, February 24, 2020
NBA legend Kobe Bryant makes slam dunk with Oscar win for 'Dear Basketball'
Basketball legend Kobe Bryant gives his Oscars acceptance speech for Best Animated Short.

LOS ANGELES -- In his lifetime, Kobe Bryant scored 33,643 points as an NBA player -- and one Oscar as a movie producer.

In 2018, the five-time NBA champion won an Oscar for his animated short "Dear Basketball" along with animator Glen Keane.

"As basketball players, we're really supposed to shut up and dribble, but I'm glad we did a little bit more than that," Bryant said at the time.

After his win, he credited his daughter Gianna for encouraging him to work out of his comfort zone.

"My little 11-year-old Gianna goes, 'Well dad, you always tell us to go after our dreams so -- man up.' She's 11. Man up. So I had to man up and go for it," he said.

Basketball legend Kobe Bryant and animator Glen Keane talked about their huge Oscars win while they were backstage in the press room.

While backstage, Bryant said he felt better winning the Oscar than a championship and added the win gave him a sense of validation.

The short is based on Bryant's letter where he announced his retirement from the game that changed his life. He wanted the project hand-drawn, so he turned to Keane, who animated Disney classics such as "The Little Mermaid," "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin."

"They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong," the Academy tweeted after news of Bryant's death.

The 41-year-old basketball legend and his 13-year-old daughter died tragically last month after a helicopter crash near Los Angeles killed all nine people on board.

Bryant spent his entire professional basketball career with the Los Angeles Lakers and won five championships. Bryant was drafted to the NBA directly out of Lower Merion High School in Ardmore, Penn., a suburb of Philadelphia. He was the 13th choice in the first round of the 1996 NBA Draft.

Bryant, known as the Black Mamba, averaged 25 points per game in his career and was the fourth-highest scorer in NBA history, with 33,643 points, recently removed from third by LeBron James.