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Kobe Bryant’s short documentary ‘Dear Basketball’ nominated for an Oscar

Kobe Bryant had two of his jersey numbers retired by the Los Angeles Lakers last month which included a basketball short that was played before the ceremony began. According to Entertainment Weekly, “Dear Basketball” received a 2018 nomination for Best Animated Short Film.

Variety’s Ellen Wolff says that Bryant put together an Oscar-worthy team behind the film, namely Disney Animation’s Glen Keane (The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast), his son Max Keane (his production designer), and legendary composer John Williams.

In the piece, Glen says that he is “a movement nerd. My son Max played basketball and I constantly sketched during his games. There’s a rhythm I already knew.” This explains why the drawing of Bryant, whether as a child or as an adult, was so fluid that it felt life-like even though you knew that you were just watching a cartoon.

In Bryant’s words, “Glen asked lots of questions about my process as a child. I used to place chairs in the driveway and weave through them to work on my ball handling. Glen wanted to know exactly how I’d line up the chairs, so I drew a sketch for him. But he didn’t actually recognize them as chairs!”

You can find Kobe’s beautifully-written words in the film from The Players’ Tribune.

Watching the animated short was a very fitting and touching tribute to a man who is still very much that six-year old in an adult’s body. With his dreams of playing professional basketball already achieved, Bryant may yet accomplish something he didn’t even dream of—an Oscar award.