NBA legend Kobe Bryant hopes to make slam dunk at Oscars with 'Dear Basketball'

LOS ANGELES -- Kobe Bryant is a five-time NBA champion, and now he's also an Oscar nominee thanks to a film he made with animator Glen Keane.

Bryant is hoping to make a slam dunk at the Oscars with his new teammate. The All-Star spent two decades in professional basketball, while Keane's been in animation for more than four decades.

Together they made the animated short Dear Basketball.

It's based on the letter Bryant wrote announcing his retirement from the game that changed his life.

"That's kind of the core of the film itself. It started with a dream, working to get to that dream, accomplishing that dream. Now, what do you do? You have to be able to let go and move on," Bryant said.

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NBA All-Star Kobe Bryant and Disney animator Glen Keane talked about their Oscar-nominated short, "Dear Basketball," which was based on Kobe's retirement letter.

He wanted the project hand-drawn, so he turned to Keane, a former Disney animator whose credits include The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin.

One thing Keane knew for sure - he'd need little Kobe and big Kobe on the court at the same time.
"It was going to be like a basketball ballet between the two as they're moving. As I thought of that, I just got chills because this story was going to go so far was not just about basketball. It was dear - you fill it in. You fill in your dream," Keane said.

For Bryant and Keane, the dream is real even if it still feels like a dream.

Bryant is embarking on the next chapter of his life. For Dear Basketball's music, he called his friend, 51-time Oscar nominee and five-time winner, composer John Williams.

Williams just made one request before he signed on - which was to use the same orchestra he used for Star Wars. Bryant said yes.

But they were both shocked by what the composer told them next - he had never watched a basketball game!

If you would like to watch Dear Basketball, it's available on Verizon's Family of Media Properties, including Go90.

Don't miss the Oscars, Sunday, March 4 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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