The iconic basketball star won best animated short at the 90th Academy Awards for “Dear Basketball,” which is based on a poem of the same name he wrote following his retirement from the Los Angeles Lakers at the end of the 2015-16 season.
For his part, Bryant -- also widely known as the Black Mamba -- collaborated with famed animator Glen Keane and music composer John Williams for the post-retirement project.
At the time, Bryant tweeted his excitement and disbelief over his nomination writing: “This is beyond the realm of imagination. Thanks to the genius of @GlenKeanePrd & John Williams for taking my poem to this level. It’s an honor to be on this team.”
Bryant opened up about his life post-career in an interview with USA Today published just three days ago on Thursday and said his Oscar, Sports Emmy and Annie award were among the accolades he cherishes the most.
“It’s not something that was expected,” he said. “As a kid, you kind of have the goal of winning championships and all these sorts of things. Being in the industry that I’m in now? It wasn’t something that was thought of me winning an Oscar.”
Bryant also stayed busy during his post-basketball career life, providing an in-depth analysis of the game’s best players on “Detail” for ESPN+ and the podcast series “The Punies.”
Bryant told USA Today that people wondered what he would do post-basketball and often reached out to him to give him advice.
“‘I don’t know what you want to do when you retire,’” he recalled of the conversations. “‘You’re going to go through a state of depression. You’re going to have an identity crisis.’”
“You got to do what you love to do,” he continued. “I love telling stories. I love inspiring kids or providing them with tools that are going to help them.”
Bryant also kept his gold trophies on full display during a recent interview with close pals, former NBA standouts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson for their “All the Smoke” podcast for Showtime published earlier this month.
When asked about his ongoing friendly competition with the great Michael Jordan, Bryant joked to Barnes and Jackson, “Mike ain’t getting one of these,” making reference to his coveted Oscar. He also discussed a children’s book series that he was at the helm of producing centered on telling stories from a child athlete’s perspective, he said on “All the Smoke.”
Fox News confirmed from a source that Bryant was among the nine people killed in a helicopter accident in Calabasas, just north of Los Angeles, on Sunday. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver also confirmed the death of Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in a statement.