Kobe Bryant Wins First Oscar For Short Film ‘Dear Basketball’
Amid the usual speeches, ballgowns, and not-all-that-surprising announcements of winners, the 2018 Oscars delivers several noteworthy moments.
Chief among them is Kobe Bryant winning an award.
Kobe Bryant Winning Big On His First Try
The legendary former basketball player nabbed Best Animated Short for Dear Basketball, which the NBA superstar wrote and produced. The 39-year-old described the experience as bigger than anything his lengthy and celebrated basketball career had to offer.
"I feel better than winning the championship, to be honest with you. I swear I do. To be here right now and to have like ... a sense of validation is ... this is crazy, man. It's crazy," Bryant told media gathered backstage.
Dear Basketball is based on the poem of the same name Bryant wrote back in 2015. It was published on the Player's Tribune website and simultaneously announced his final NBA season.
Bryant also narrates the 5-minute short, which is directed by Glen Keane and scored by Oscar-winning composer and Star Wars veteran John Williams. Dear Basketball showcases top moments from the Los Angeles Lakers star's storied career, animated in hand-drawn images.
The letter, which Bryant reads over the footage, details his love for the sport from a young age as well as his frustration over his body not being able to take the toll of playing anymore.
Enjoying An Active Retirement
The future Hall of Famer won five NBA titles over the course of his 20-season career with the Lakers. Bryant's retirement led him to start his own production company, Kobe Studios, which is reportedly seeking advice from both TV producers Shonda Rhimes and Oprah Winfrey herself in how to be successful with it.
He shared his own advice for athletes looking to have an active retirement.
"The hardest thing for athletes to do is when you start over, you really have to quiet the ego and you have to ... begin again. You have to be a learner all over again. You have to learn the basics of things, and, you know, that's really the hardest part," Bryant said.
Bryant accepted the Best Animated Short Oscar alongside his director. He joked about how ex-players are expected to behave in his speech.
"As a basketball player, you're really supposed to shut up and dribble, but I'm glad we're doing a little bit more than that," he said.
Twitter lit up with celebratory messages for Bryant from fellow players and longtime fans alike.
Congrats to KOBE first Oscar that’s big bro #dearbasketball. Proud of you, Big honor for you and your family. I’m jealous lol — SHAQ (@SHAQ) March 5, 2018
Kobe Bryant didn't just shut up and dribble. He won an Oscar. — Eugene Gu, MD (@eugenegu) March 5, 2018
He reportedly became the most tweeted star on the night, although much of the discussion came from Bryant's previous difficulties with a sexual assault charge brought against him 15 years ago. The NBA star was accused of sexually assaulting a 19-year-old hotel clerk back in Colorado in 2003.
The case was dropped after the woman refused to testify against Bryant. The two settled a civil lawsuit back in 2005. The NBA star apologized in a public statement.
The 2018 Oscars featured many moments of prominent stars speaking out on the current reckoning in Hollywood. Host Jimmy Kimmel as well as actors Ashley Judd and Mira Sorvino, all utilized the spotlight to bring more attention to the #MeToo and Time's Up movements.