The sudden death of Kobe Bryant has reverberated across several cultural platforms, far beyond the arena of basketball where the man became an icon.
Bryant, a 5-time NBA Champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and one of the greatest players in the history of the game, died Sunday morning January 26, 2020 when a helicopter he was a passenger in crashed in the hills on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Eight others on the flight including the pilot also died, one of whom was Kobe’s 13-year old daughter Gianna. They were en route to a girls basketball game for Gianna’s team at Bryant’s Mamba Academy. Also reported to be onboard: another player and friend of Gianna’s, and the girl’s parent.
Dear Basketball is a 2017 short film that Bryant produced. It visualized the letter he wrote on November 29, 2015 to announce his retirement after twenty years. Two years later, Bryant’s production Believe Entertainment hired legendary animator Glen Keane to animate it. Narrating his own words, with a music score composed by the great John Williams, Bryant (along with Keane) would go on to win the 2017 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
It’s impossible to put into words what Bryant’s legacy means to the game, but in Dear Basketball, a few short words is all Kobe needed to share what the game meant to him.
Rest In Peace, Kobe Bryant.