After winning an Oscar for the critically-acclaimed animation, Hair Love, the director, Bruce W. Smith, paid tribute to Kobe Bryant.

The tribute might have been a surprise to some, but apparently the two were discussing Bryant’s desires to dive into animation shortly before he passed.

“Kobe was heavily invested, at the time, in starting an animation studio,” Bruce W. Smith told Double Toasted in an interview from earlier in the month. “So for the past six months or so, Kobe and I had been in deep talks about making that happen.”

Unfortunately, we won’t get to see Kobe Bryant fully dive into the creative storytelling chapter of his career. Last year he took home an Oscar for his short film, Dear Basketball, and he had the potential to take home more awards for his work.

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“It is still completely unbelievable,” the Proud Family creator said holding back emotions in the interview. “Like I still have not completely wrapped my head around the fact that Kobe’s not here. Totally heartbreaking.”