Kobe Bryant made history in his post-basketball career by becoming the first African-American to win an Oscar for Best Animated Short. During his last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, Bryant penned an emotional letter to the game of basketball — effectively announcing his retirement at the conclusion of the 2015-16 NBA season — which was adapted into an animated short film.
The love letter entitled, “Dear Basketball” won the hearts of The Academy and Bryant surprisingly was given an Academy Award for the animated short. Bryant commented that winning an Oscar for his first film felt better than winning all five of his NBA titles. In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Bryant shared a more in-depth experience of his first night at the Academy Awards:
Not even Bryant could have predicted the success of his film, but he collaborated with animator Glen Keane and composer John Williams — both of whom are giants in the film industry. The story touched everyone who has ever been passionate about something, and it was a beautiful segue from Bryant’s Hall-of-Fame basketball career into his new career in film.
Bryant said he intends to work on more projects in the future. Perhaps this will not be his only Oscar.