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Kobe Bryant's 'Dear Basketball' Encourages And Inspires Youth To Dream Big And Pay It Forward

Kobe Bryant's 'Dear Basketball' Encourages And Inspires Youth To Dream Big And Pay It Forward

After entering the NBA soon after graduating high school and playing twenty years as a shooting guard standout for the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant proudly stood in California's Staples Center and watched as his retired #8 and #24 jerseys were hung from the rafters last December. Bryant lead the Lakers to win multiple NBA championships and ultimately became the youngest player in the league to reach 30,000 career points. As his well decorated days of playing professional basketball come to an end, Bryant has turned his attention to a new project.

In an interview with HuffPost, Bryant opened up about how he wanted to inspire the next generation through the art of storytelling: “So I said OK, if I really want to teach some of these lessons I learned from the game of basketball, the best way to do that is through story, is through visual, through music and animation." 

With these sentiments and his desire to continue to positively impact generations to come, Bryant has collaborated with artist Glen Keane to create "Dear Basketball," a five-minute animated film that tells the story of his relationship with basketball. Keane has been the artist behind Disney characters from Aladdin and The Little Mermaid. Loosely based on his retirement letter/ode to basketball: “Dear Basketball: The Legend of Kobe Bryant,” Bryant will serve as narrator to the short film and share with young viewers reflections from his childhood that ultimately lead to the start of his career. 

From his commitment to studying basketball tapes to meticulously rolling up his tube socks to practice shooting baskets in his room, Bryant wants kids to know that every little behavior towards achieving their dreams counts! “Having a dream isn’t enough. You’ve got to do the work on a daily basis to have that dream come true,” Bryant told HuffPost.

“Dear Basketball” debuted at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and is on a shortlist to potentially receive a 2018 Oscar nod for best animated short. This short film is one of many new projects that Bryant is eager to personalize, including a podcast, a live action series, and additional animation. Bryant’s desire to pay forward lessons that he’s learned over the years and inspire others to do the same makes him a class act and a wonderful role model for his athletic prowess and so much more.

UPDATE: Kobe Bryant's "Dear Basketball" won a Oscar for Best Animated Short. Congratulations to Kobe Bryant and Glen Keane! 

Watch the full "Dear Basketball" animated short film here: