Producers of this year’s Academy Awards announced that Kobe Bryant will be honored at next month’s Oscars ceremony. Bryant died Sunday after a horrific helicopter crash that also claimed the lives of his daughter, Gianna, and seven others.
An Oscars representative confirmed to Variety that “he will be acknowledged in the telecast” referring to the “In Memoriam” segment of the award show. Sources also told the outlet that a separate tribute may also be planned.
Following Bryant’s retirement from basketball, he dabbled in a bit of film-making. When he first announced his retirement in 2015, he wrote a poem to express his love and gratitude for the game of basketball.
In 2018, he executive produced and narrated “Dear Basketball,” a five-minute animated short film based on the poem. He also called upon the talents of Glen Keane (Aladdin, The Little Mermaid), who animated and directed the film.
“Dear Basketball” went on to win the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Annual Academy Awards. Following his acceptance speech, Bryant explained how winning the award felt better than winning a championship.
“Growing up as a kid, I dreamed of winning championships and working really hard to make that dream come true, but then to have something like this seemingly come out of left field.”
He went on to talk about how after retiring, he wanted to write and tell stories, but received some responses saying he would eventually come back to playing basketball.
“I got a lot of, ‘That’s cute. That’s cute. You’ll be depressed when your career is over, and you’ll come back to playing.’ I got that a lot. And so, to be here right now and to have a sense of validation is crazy.”
In addition, he thanked Gianna for giving him the motivation to work on the film in the first place, quoting her: “Well, dad, you always tell us to go after our dreams, so man up.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences official Instagram posted a tribute to Bryant on Sunday night, reflecting on how he proved so many people wrong.
After the news of Bryant’s death, his multimedia company, Granity Studios, released “Dear Basketball” for people to watch online.
As of Tuesday night, the film has been taken down, with no comments regarding its removal.
However, the teaser can still be viewed at dearbasketball.com.
Featured image: A shot from Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning short, “Dear Basketball,” directed and animated by Glen Keane. (Granity Studios)