On Sunday night, Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant will learn whether or not he can add Oscar Award winner to his list of remarkable accomplishments. Of course, this would be the first gold trophy of sorts he’s earned from Hollywood.
Bryant’s “Dear Basketball” is among five nominees for best animated short film. Regardless of who’s name is put inside the white envelope when it comes time to announce a winner, Bryant is already the first former professional athlete to ever receive a nomination.
The short is based off the poem Bryant wrote to formally announce his retirement from basketball. After 20 illustrious seasons with the Lakers, the five-time champion has furthered pursued his passion in storytelling.
Bryant explained to Kelley L. Carter of The Undefeated that so much as receiving an Oscar nomination is satisfying in that it is additional proof he’s more than just an athlete:
“I’ve always been told that as basketball players the expectation is that you play. This is all you know. This is all you do. Don’t think about handling finances. Don’t think about going into business. Don’t think that you want to be a writer — that’s cute. I got that a lot. What do you want to do when you retire? ‘Well, I want to be a storyteller.’ That’s cute. This is … a form of validation for people to look and say, ‘OK, he really can do something other than dribble and shoot.’ ”
Bryant, who also has two Olympic gold medals to accompany his basketball accolades from playing for the Lakers, previously said winning an Oscar would supersede anything he’s previously accomplished in his career.
Lakers head coach Luke Walton said he wasn’t in the least bit surprised that his former teammate was up for such a prestigious honor.
Once the Oscars come and go, next for Bryant will be the premiere of “Detail.” The 15-episode series is a partnership formed between ESPN and Bryant’s studio, Granity Studios.
Complete list of Oscar-nominated animated short films:
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, director, and Kobe Bryant, writer (Glen Keane Productions)
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon, directors (MOPA)
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, director, and Dana Murray, producer (Pixar Animation Studios)
“Negative Space,” Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, directors (Ikki Films)
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)