Kobe Bryant can now add ‘Oscar award-winner’ to his resume after the former basketball star won the Animated Short category at the Academy Awards and claimed the feeling was better than his NBA titles.
The retired Los Angeles Lakers legend earned the golden statue on Sunday for his animated short ‘Dear Basketball’, based on the poem he wrote in 2015 to announce his retirement from basketball.
Bryant, who finished a glittering 20-year career in 2016, walked away from the game with a full cabinet of trophies and accomplishments, including five championships, two NBA Finals MVPs, one league MVP, two Olympic gold medals, 18 All-Star appearances, 11 All-NBA First Team selections and having his Nos 8 and 24 retired by the Lakers.
Yet as dedicated as he was to the game, Bryant declared his Oscar win was a feeling like none other.
“I feel better than winning championships,” he said. “This is crazy, man, it’s crazy.”
As executive producer, Bryant accepted his Oscar from ‘Star Wars’ star Mark Hamill, alongside Disney animator Glen Keane.
Bryant thanked his wife, Vanessa, as well as his three daughters before delivering a message that athletes aren’t solely defined by what they can do on the court or field.
“As basketball players, we’re told to shut up and dribble,” Bryant said on stage. “I’m glad we did a little bit more than that.”
LeBron James, who was recently told by Fox News host Laura Ingraham to ‘shut up and dribble’ instead of providing political commentary, congratulated Bryant on Twitter, as did Hall of Famers Bill Russell, Magic Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal.
Bryant’s Oscar win, however, seems to fly in the face of Time’s Up and #MeToo movements.
The Oscars celebrated Hollywood’s recent uncovering of sexual harassment and abuse on Sunday, but still rewarded Bryant, who in 2003 was accused of raping a 19-year-old woman in a Colorado hotel room.
The criminal case was dropped after the woman was unwilling to testify in court, but the civil suit against Bryant was later settled out of court and included his apology to her, although he didn’t admit guilt.
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