The 90th Academy Awards was filled with some surprises, but nothing quite like this. When it came time to award the best animated short film, the name called was not just some director, it was better. Kobe Bryant became the first professional athlete to win an Academy Award. Kobe’s short film beat out competing animated shorts such as Garden Party, Lou, Revolting Rhymes and Negative Space. Bryant’s win came as a shock to many, even to himself. After winning he tweeted, “‘What?? This is beyond the realm of imagination. It means so much that the @TheAcademy deemed #DearBasketball worthy of contention. Thanks to the genius of @GlenKeanePrd & John Williams for taking my poem to this level. It's an honor to be on this team. #OscarNoms.’”
Kobe’s animated film, Dear Basketball directed by Glen Keane, previewed at Kobe’s Jersey retirement game on December 18, 2017. The short was based on a letter Kobe wrote to The Players’ Tribune during November 2015 when he announced his retirement. It featured drawings and a storyline of Kobe growing up and followed his life of basketball, his dream to play in the NBA and his stardom as a Laker for 20 years. During his acceptance speech, Kobe used his stage time to drop some words in the basketball political arena. "I mean, as basketball players, we're really supposed to shut up and dribble," Bryant said, in an apparent reference to Fox News host Laura Ingraham’s recent digs at LeBron James for being an outspoken athlete. “But I’m glad we do a little bit more than that” he added. Some of the NBA’s greats took to twitter to congratulate Kobe on his new hardware.
Watch the Academy Award winning "Dear Basketball" here