Words by Nick Slay
Kobe Bryant now adds an Oscar to his impressive collection of NBA Championships, Gold Medals, and sports awards.
In a night full of milestones and historic firsts, Bryant’s win for, “Best Animated Short” was no different. The animated feature that is set to his memorable poem, “Dear Basketball,” was Bryant’s open letter to the league and the game he loved in the Players Tribune on November 29th, 2017. The letter came on the eve of his retirement, and was a reflective piece on how the game of basketball influenced Bryant’s life. Dear Basketball also has the distinction of being the first animated piece created using 1 HB Pencil.
Upon accepting the award, Bryant used this platform and opportunity to take a shot at Fox News’ Laura Ingraham for her statement earlier this directed at Lebron James. The derogatory statement insinuated that NBA athletes and presumably ones of African-American descent should just shut up and dribble. Kobe’s win on Oscar night reaffirms that players are more than the labels that are placed upon them. This is especially important on the heels of 2017 when Colin Kaepernick took a knee in NFL, showing that players are more than athletes on the field but intelligent social leaders that can use their brand and audience to influence change as well as challenge a presidential administration. James congratulated Bryant on twitter with this statement:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 5, 2018
Lebron’s remarks re-emphasized that basketball players are more than just employees on the hardwood, and have the right to express their views on and off the court. Bryant joins Jordan Peele as black celebrities that the Academy acknowledged for their work in Hollywood. Both Peele and Bryant defied convention in their collective work this year and we salute them. The trailer for Dear Basketball which is feature on the streaming service go90 can be seen here on this YouTube clip: