Kobe Bryant cherishes Oscar more than five NBA championships

By @saihoops on
Kobe Bryant, Dear Basketball, 90th Academy Awards
90th Academy Awards - Oscars Backstage - Hollywood, California, U.S., 04/03/2018 - Kobe Bryant with Best Animated Short Film Award for "Dear Basketball". Reuters / Mike Blake

Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant won five NBA championships through the course of a 20-year career in the NBA. But the Black Mamba admittedly values his "Crazy Oscar" more than all his accomplishments on the basketball floor.

At the 90th Academy Awards on Sunday (Monday AEDT), Bryant won an Oscar in the animated short category for "Dear Basketball," a poem he penned down after ending his illustrious basketball career in 2016. After retiring from the sport, the multi-talented Bryant had spoken passionately about wanting to be a storyteller, with hopes of carving out a new legacy away from the basketball court.

It seems like Bryant is a winner in retirement, too. “My God. I feel better than winning championships. This is crazy, man, it’s crazy," an elated Bryant told the gathered media in the backstage area at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California.

“I mean, as basketball players we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble but I’m glad we do a little bit more than that,” Bryant said while collecting the award, throwing shade at media personality Laura Ingraham, who recently asked LeBron James to "shut up and dribble" when the Cleveland Cavaliers star voiced his opinions on US President Donald Trump's tenure at the White House.

Kobe Bryant: From NBA champion to Oscar winner

Bryant, 39, revealed that a lot of his close friends doubted his ability to transition from sports superstar to storytelling. The Lakers icon believed the Academy Award victory validated that he could succeed away from basketball. "That's cute (they told me when I spoke of my aspirations to be a storyteller). The hardest thing when you start over, you have to quiet the ego and begin again. You have to learn the basics of things."

The Oscar will be added to Kobe Bryant's already jammed cabinet which includes five NBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, two NBA Finals MVP trophies, one NBA MVP award and four NBA All-Star game MVP awards. Bryant, widely regarded as one of the greatest basketball players in history, was showered with praises Sunday by his peers on social media (see below).