‘Intimately Involved’: Marketing Expert Reveals How Kobe Bryant Won the Oscar Award

Published 05/09/2021, 5:30 AM EDT
NEWBURY PARK, CA – MARCH 28: SiriusXM Presents A Town Hall With NBA Legend Kobe Bryant at the Mamba Sports Academy on March 28, 2019 in Newbury Park, California. (Photo by Vivien Killilea/Getty Images for SiriusXM)


To those who learned late about Kobe Bryant, the one thing that surprised them the most was his Oscars achievement. Understandably, it is tough for a regular person to connect a basketball player with the Academy Awards. But when it is about Kobe, one can associate him with a space program and still hope that the legend must’ve achieved something even there.

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Dear Basketball, an animated short film, came out in 2017 and took the viewers in awe. Written and narrated by Mamba himself, the 5-minute adventure received worldwide recognition and also a mighty Oscar. So how did it happen?

Kobe Bryant always played for winning

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Be it sports, be it his business deals, or be it his investments, the Black Mamba always gave his 100% into each of those commitments. So when it came to writing for a short film, the 5-time NBA Champion wanted his work to be world-class. Now, the best way to seek that approval of a movie being an all-time wonder is getting it an Academy Award. 

In a recent interview, Mr. Craig Greiwe, an experienced marketer, sat down to discuss what went into Kobe winning the Oscar. He started off by suggesting, “Verizon had acquired Dear Basketball, and they said Kobe wants to win an Oscar. Can you please talk to him?”

This one statement makes it clear how Kobe had his laser focus on creating something Oscar-worthy. That’s the finest example of Mamba mentality and an entire team running his Oscar campaign proved it. Imagine a player giving 20 years of his life to the NBA and utilizing the very next year of retirement to achieve something this tough.

Kobe Bryant hosts a Kobe A.D. event at MAMA Gallery on November 1, 2016, in LA, California. (Photo by Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)

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How was Mamba’s off-court leadership?

Kobe Bryant was a gifted storyteller, and he has been writing ever since his school days. The art of narration is something that always kept the young Kobe hooked, and that’s what he utilized in Dear Basketball. The movie used a poem that he wrote back in 2015, and those lines became the heart and soul of the movie. Certainly, all that must’ve helped this arduous campaign to win the prestigious honor.

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As Mr. Craig further added, “Kobe was intimately involved. He was a well-informed individual. So there were a lot of conversations about what to do, where to go, but he was also somebody who trusted. He was like, ‘I trust that you’re an expert.’ Like I don’t go to the doctor and tell them where to cut and how to treat and I don’t tell my hairstylist how to cut my hair.”

A true leader that showed complete faith in his team won the biggest of the titles. He became the first-ever African-American to win an Oscar in that category, and all that hard work came to fruition.

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Have you already watched Dear Basketball? If yes, help us know in the comments which part touched you the most.

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Sourabh Singh

1258 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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