The man. The baller. The…award-winning filmmaker? Believe it. Retired NBA star Kobe Bryant just picked up his first ever Oscar for his animated short, Dear Basketball.
The film was based off a poem the 39-year-old wrote back in 2015 that outlined his stellar retirement from the sport.
An excerpt from the poem reads: “Dear Basketball, from the moment I started rolling my dad’s tube socks, and shooting imaginary game-winning shots in the Great Western Forum, I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you.”
“I can’t love you obsessively for much longer. This season is all I have left to give. My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind. But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.”
Bryant’s triumph in a completely different industry didn’t come without controversy. The retired Los Angeles Lakers star has constantly had to field doubters about his ambitions to become a storyteller.
Today he told the website The Undefeated that he had proved them all wrong.
“I’ve always been told that as basketball players the expectation is that you play,” Bryant said.
“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.'”
The award was presented to Bryant alongside veteran Disney animator, Glen Keane.
— MyNBAUpdate (@MyNBAUpdate) March 5, 2018
The win also drew support from Bryant’s former peers including LeBron James and Shaq.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 5, 2018
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