Kobe Bryant has scored again.
The retired Laker took home the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Dear Basketball, his love letter to the game he played so well in the NBA for 20 years. Created on the eve of his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers, the short is narrated by Bryant and describes his love for the game, which began when he was a young child, and continued on to an all-time professional career. Bryant describes how he and basketball have given each other all they have.
The category has been part of the Academy Awards since its fifth year, covering 1931-32 to the present. It was known as Short Subjects, Cartooons until 1970, then as Short Subjects, Animated Films from 1971 to 1973. The present title began in 1974. The category gave Walt Disney 12 of his 22 Oscars. Only American films were nominated until 1932.
Other nominees in the category included Garden Party (Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon); Negative Space (Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata); Revolting Rhymes (Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer); and Lou (Dave Mullins and Dana Murray).
Glen Keane and Kobe Bryant accepted. Keane thanked his crew and family, and thanked Bryant for writing the film. “It’s a message for all of us. Whatever form your dream may take, it’s through passion and perseverance that the impossible is possible.”
Bryant was in a joking mood. “I don’t know if it’s possible. I mean, as basketball players we’re really supposed to shut-up and dribble, but I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.” He went on to thank composer John Williams for his music and his family for their support, ending with an Italian phrase: Ti amo con tutto il mio cuore. You are my inspiration.”