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In 2018, Kobe Bryant became the first pro-athlete to win an Oscar Award for his short animated film, Dear Basketball. Now, the annual ceremony will honor the late figure during Sunday’s showcase (Feb. 9), according to The Hollywood Reporter.
On Monday (Jan. 27), the Oscar Nominees Luncheon took a moment of silence in memory of Bryant and the other seven passengers on the helicopter, including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna. In a recap by Deadline, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) president David Rubin noted that Bryant sat in that very same room two years ago.
During his Oscars acceptance speech, Bryant thanked his family and said he’s excited to know that athletes in his profession don’t just “shut up and dribble” but explore other mediums of inspiration. “This is not supposed to happen,” he said during an interview with Jimmy Kimmel. “I’m supposed to play basketball. Not write something that wins an Oscar.”
Throughout the interview, the Los Angeles Lakers legend said his win unlocked a new realm of responsibility to usher in diverse minds to the animation world. “How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry? In the animation business it’s a serious lack of diversity," he continued. "When I won that award the other night, I was the first African-American to ever win that award in that category.”
Dear Basketball, directed by Glen Keane and narrated by Bryant, tells the story of his road to retirement from the NBA in 2015. The short film also won the Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject and a Sports Emmy Award for Outstanding Post-Produced Graphic Design.
On Sunday (Jan. 26), Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven other passengers aboard a helicopter died after the aircraft crashed in Calabasas, California. Investigators are still piecing together the exact cause of the incident.
They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.
They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong.
They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar.
Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/1fYnKHbnt7
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 26, 2020
On Sunday (Jan. 26), a helicopter carrying families, which included Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna, crashed in Calabasas, California. All nine people onboard were pronounced dead. As investigators continue to decipher the exact cause of the tragic incident, the sports legend’s supporters are pushing for his likeness to always remain a part of the sport he dominated.
A change.org petition has received over a million signatures to encourage the National Basketball Association (NBA) to change its logo to feature Bryant. Currently, former professional basketball player Jerry West remains as the league’s logo. West was also a Los Angeles Laker.
Michael Jones, the organization’s managing director, shared that the petition has grounds to memorialize Bryant in a sport he changed forever. "Nick's petition is not only the fastest-growing on Change.org, it's also the first petition of 2020 to top 1 million signatures anywhere in the globe," Jones said in a statement. "As the world comes to terms with the death of someone as famous and well-known as Kobe Bryant, Nick has given basketball fans an outlet to create a permanent memory of someone who made history in the NBA."
As noted by The Undefeated, today also marks 23 years since Bryant, at age 18, became the youngest player to start a game.
Jan. 28, 1997
Kobe Bryant becomes the youngest player -- at 18 years, five months and five days -- to start an NBA game. pic.twitter.com/wA9mCqNORm
— The Undefeated (@TheUndefeated) January 28, 2020
According to CNN, the pilot received Special VFR Clearance (SVFR) to fly the Sikorsky S-76B helicopter due to weather conditions. The helicopter left from John Wayne Airport near Irvine, Calif., on its destination to Thousand Oaks where Gianna and her two teammates were expected to play a basketball game.
This story appeared in the April 2000 issue of VIBE, months before he won his first of five NBA championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. Written by Isaac Paris
Okay, Sherlock, we know Kobe Bryant is way past the verge of stardom. As an all-star shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers, he gets thousands of fans screaming with excitement every other night. Bryant's baseline drives are as smooth as Nate Dogg's vocals, and his slam dunks bump like a gritty bass line from a DJ Premier track.
Now, with his debut rap album, Visions (Columbia), due in March, the 21-year-old is poised to follow in the footsteps of teammate Shaquille O'Neal (who he occasionally exchanges verses with in the locker room) and prove that his skills aren't limited to flying above the rim. Although Bryant realizes that being the man on the hardwood is no guarantee that you can actually hold it down in the studio (NBA stars/inept MCs like Gary Payton and Jason Kidd can attest to that), Visions proves his wordsmith capabilities are ample enough to allow him to play with the big dogs.
"People are gonna be surprised," Bryant says self-assuredly. "Toward the latter stages [of recording], I was real comfortable. I was like, 'I got this sh*t!'" In fact, tonight in his Milwaukee hotel room––on the eve of a game against the Bucks––Bryant's more pressed with defending the unproven mike skills of his homegirl that he is his own.
"Tyra can sing," he says of supermodel Tyra Banks, who makes her singing debut on Visions' first single, the buoyant "K.O.B.E." Destiny's Child, the Roots' Black Thought, 50 Cent, and Beanie Sigel also support the hoopster on the CD.
"The album is pretty hard. People expect me to come a little more commercial than I did," says Bryant. "At first it was all battle raps, but I really wanted to give the total picture of what was going on around me, like money, jewelry, women, and trust issues."
Nevertheless, money, hoes, and clothes aren't the only things this player knows. He also knows how to win. The following night, after No. 8 scores 22 points as the Lakers thrash the Bucks, he's convinced he'll be just as successful rapping as he is playing on his championship-contending team. "[On the mic] you want respect. If I want something I'm gonna get it. Just buy the album and see for yourself."