Kobe Bryant didn’t surpass Michael Jordan as the G.O.A.T. on the basketball court, but he surely can off of it. The retired Los Angeles Laker superstar added an Academy Award to his already bulky trophy case Sunday night for Dear Basketball, the award-winning short based on a poem he wrote in 2015 announcing his retirement.
The former Los Angeles Lakers star won an Oscar in the animated short category for “Dear Basketball,” a poem he wrote after ending his 20-year career on the court in 2016.
With the film and media landscape already having a competitive nature, Bryant’s Oscar marks the potential beginning of the Black Mambas new dominance in a different arena – a position that he is very familiar with.
In 2016, Bryant teamed up with investor Jeff Stibel to launch a $100 million investment fund. Since then, hes led the way with huge investments in both Derek Jeter’s publishing company, The Players Tribune, and Russell Simmons media company, All Def Digital.
While players such as Andre Iguodala, Steph Curry, and LeBron James have all invested and dabbled in tech and media platforms, none thus far have won a reputable award even comparable to an Oscar.
Weve seen the direct impact the NBA has on the sneaker and music industries, but weve never seen a player like Bryant tackle uncharted territory for athletes and make his mark immediately. It only took him less than three years to win an award that many spend a lifetime trying to be even nominated for.
In an era where professional athletes and their rights to free speech are often tried on a daily, Bryant’s new gold statue victory gives him another reason why he’ll never “shut up and dribble”. With detractors like Fox News troll Laura Ingraham, Kobe will never allow other peoples’ opinions to stop him from reaching his goals, much like he did on the court.
Kobe Bryant after winning the Oscar for Best Animated Short. “As basketball players, we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble. But I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.” #Oscars https://t.co/gwH16OYFB7
Bryant summed up his post-retirement mindset perfectly after receiving his Oscar.
The hardest thing to do for athletes is to quiet the ego, he said. My advice is find something that you love to do and everything will make sense.
Unfortunately for people like Ingraham, pro athletes’ roles in politics, film, and more are only going to grow from here.
The current generation of the modern professional athlete has obliterated all stereotypes of limiting your passions to just the field. We, as fans of both the players and the game, should be celebrating these young men who continue to inspire and empower others.
And while we wont know how many other awards Kobe will win in his new found passion, we do know that wherever he goes, hell have a nice golden statue in one hand matching the five nice rings in the other.