Retired Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant will always be best-known for winning five NBA titles and having the second-highest scoring game of all time, but he’s also now an Oscar winner thanks to his self-written and produced short film, “Dear Basketball.”
Getting into writing wasn’t an unexpected career shift for Bryant after he spent most of his farewell season discussing his love of storytelling. But the amount of people who thought he’d win an Oscar for his effort nearly instantaneously could probably be counted on one or two hands.
It turns out Bryant himself might not have even been among that group of true believers in his storytelling ability. Bryant detailed on “The Jim Rome Podcast” about how having the faith necessary to try to create an award-winning film anyway wasn’t easy:
“Winning a championship, I expected to do that. Going into Indiana, Shaq being hurt, me trying to have to finish this game here at 21-years-old, I dreamt of doing that. I felt comfortable, I felt confident that I could absolutely execute that. People might’ve doubted if a 21-year-old could do that, but personally I had full confidence that I could. And writing “Dear Basketball” and producing that film, I didn’t know if I could do it. Writing is something completely different. I’m not known to be a writer, let alone be a producer on a project with Glen Keane and John Williams. I was unsure of myself, man. And when you take a leap of faith to that extent, to be rewarded at the highest level of the industry for our first project out, it’s beyond comprehension.”
Bryant being immediately rewarded for his hard work is the stuff of sports movies, almost too storybook-ish to seem real.
And while comparing it to being as difficult or more than winning his first championship might raise some eyebrows, it’s hard to disagree. Most people aren’t good enough at their best talent to reach the pinnacle of their profession, but Bryant was and understandably had confidence he could do so.
But to then try his hand at another skill and become recognized as one of the best so quickly? That took guts and hard work, so it’s not really that surprising that Bryant is more proud of the latter achievement.