Retired NBA superstar Kobe Bryant took home a different kind of trophy Sunday night after winning an Oscar for producing the Best Animated Short Film, “Dear Basketball.” Speaking to reporters, Bryant said it felt “better than winning the championship.”
The animated short film was based on a poem that he wrote for The Players Tribune in 2015 before he retired from the league after a career spanning 20 years with the Los Angeles Lakers.
“I feel better than winning championships,” Bryant told reporters backstage following his win. “This is crazy, man, it’s crazy.”
Bryant, who wrote and produced the short, shared the award with Disney animator Glen Keane. The duo received the award from actor Mark Hamill, who presented the award.
“As basketball players, we’re told to shut up and dribble,” Bryant said while receiving the award. “I’m glad we did a little bit more than that.”
Bryant was referencing the remarks made by Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who criticized NBA star LeBron James for talking about politics. In her show, the broadcaster advised James to “keep the political comments to yourselves,” and to “shut up and dribble.”
Bryant thanked his wife, Vanessa, and their three daughters. He also spoke a few words in Italian, “ii amo con tutto il mio cuore,” which means “I love you with all my heart.”
“Dear Basketball” beat out four other competitors in the category, including “Garden Party” (Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon), “Negative Space” (Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata), “Revolting Rhymes” (Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer), and “Lou” (Dave Mullins and Dana Murray).
The future Hall-of-Famer will add his new Oscar award to a trophy collection that includes five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, an NBA Finals Most Valuable Player (MVP), a league MVP, and four All-Star Game MVPs.
Since retiring from the game, Bryant has been spending his time and efforts in business and different forms of storytelling.