Kobe 1, Jordan 0

Kobe+Bryant+accepts+his+Oscar+for+Best+Animated+Short+%28Courtesy+of+Twitter%29.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Kobe 1, Jordan 0

Kobe Bryant accepts his Oscar for Best Animated Short (Courtesy of Twitter).

Kobe Bryant accepts his Oscar for Best Animated Short (Courtesy of Twitter).

Kobe Bryant accepts his Oscar for Best Animated Short (Courtesy of Twitter).

Kobe Bryant accepts his Oscar for Best Animated Short (Courtesy of Twitter).

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






By Alvin Halimwidjaya

Kobe Bryant accepts his Oscar for Best Animated Short (Courtesy of Twitter).

I don’t particularly love the Oscars. They have much fewer performances than the Grammys, and though I like Steve Harvey-esque moments as much as the next person, I’m not usually a big fan of sitting through three hours of award announcements and speeches. However, the one thing I was very excited about this year was “Dear Basketball,” the adaptation of Lakers star Kobe Bryant’s poem announcing his retirement, won Best Animated Short. Think about that for a second: Kobe Bryant won an Academy Award. There were certainly incredibly important social issues that were addressed and emphasized during the 90th Oscars, such as gender equality and action against the appalling culture of sexual misconduct Hollywood has bred. However, Kobe’s win was a rare instance in which sports and film crossed over on one of the biggest national stages of the year.

People might say that the Academy was pandering to a larger audience, while others might point to its context and nostalgia as its winning characteristics instead of the animation itself. Those are valid points, and I’m not going to say that they were not factors in Kobe’s Oscar nod. However, I’m going to go ahead and say this unprecedented event of an athlete-made nominee winning one of the most prestigious fine arts awards is, in simpler terms, absolutely bonkers.

Imagine if Troy Bolton was a person of color and was, you know, real. Imagine if a jock showed up and snatched first place at a talent show. The fact is that while film can imitate sports and result in classics like Rocky or documentaries like Icarus, which exposed the recent Russian doping scandal and won Best Documentary Feature Sunday night, having athletes cross over into film is a very different experience. The fact that we look to Space Jam, Trainwreck and Peyton Manning’s State Farm commercials as great examples of the limited range most athletes have in the arts.

After winning the award, Bryant said the experience was better than winning a championship, stating that when he started to express interest in writing, people told him, “That’s cute. You’ll be depressed when your career’s over. To be here now and have this sense of validation, this is crazy, man.” The fact that the same guy who dropped 81 points on the Toronto Raptors won an Oscar for a poem he wrote speaks to the importance of stepping outside one’s comfort zone and cultivating every skill you have.

“Dear Basketball” might not be at the forefront of the collective social consciousness, much less a nominee most people were rooting for; however, I think that Bryant’s win is a reminder that we often place athletes in a euro-stepping, touchdown-catching box, and it’s good to remember that these public figures and role models are capable of more than just jumping out of the gym. Kobe said it best in his acceptance speech as he casually deadpanned, “I mean, as basketball players, we are really supposed to shut up and dribble. But I am glad we do a little bit more than that.”