“I Do Have Talent Other Than Dribbling and Shooting”: What the Oscars Meant for Kobe Bryant

Published 04/16/2020, 5:43 PM EDT

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NBA legend Kobe Bryant released his animated short film ‘Dear Basketball’ on April 23, 2017. The film was highly successful. It gave Kobe the assurance there was more to him than just basketball.

Kobe Bryant’s letter to basketball



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In 2018, Kobe went to USC Performance Science Institute for an interview. He was there to talk about his competitive and business philosophy, the Mamba Mentality.

They also discussed his animated short film and its success. Through the conversation, Bryant sent the students in attendance the message that one’s talents aren’t limited.

Bryant’s ‘Dear Basketball’ is an animated short film released in 2017. Bryant himself wrote and narrated it. Glen Keane and John Williams provided direction and music, respectively.


A letter Bryant wrote for The Players’ Tribune on November 29, 2015, announcing his retirement from basketball is the inspiration behind the film. It won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards. It became the first Oscar win for any professional athlete, and for Keane, a veteran Disney animator.



The moment Kobe Bryant realized his alternative talent

Talking about how the film came into existence, Bryant said that he was figuring out how he would walk away from the game and announce it to his dear fans. During this, he realized he hadn’t received an opportunity to talk to the game itself, who had given him so much.

The Los Angeles Lakers star wrote two drafts in 30 minutes. He said, “Once I had that focus, the words came pretty quickly.”

The first draft focused on the more confrontational side of basketball for Kobe. It questioned him how he could just leave. He based the second draft on all the beautiful experiences the game provided him with.

Further, Kobe revealed that he wanted a visual, so he could easily tell the game how much he loves it. He felt fortunate that director and animator Glen Keane and John Williams believed in the vision enough to make it a reality.




Talking about when the film received the Academy Award nomination and won, Kobe said, “I grew up in Italy, so I didn’t even know Oscars was the same. So when the nominations came on, that’s pretty crazy, pretty insane, and then to actually win!”


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Kobe also highlighted the fact that his peers joked about his ambition to pursue story telling post retirement. The Mamba revealed that the Academy nomination was validation enough for him.

The 5 time Championship winner revealed his thoughts about the same. He said, “This thing is real and I can do this. I do have talent other than dribbling and shooting the basketball. I can actually write.”

Kobe died in a helicopter accident along with his daughter Gianna and seven others on board. He was an inspirational soul who gave life lessons to everyone on and off the court. The NBA community will forever remember the Black Mamba.


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Written by:

Maitreyee Joshi


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