Joining Frances McDormand, Jordan Peele and Gary Oldman in accepting Academy Awards on Sunday night was someone more readily associated with other kinds of honors: Kobe Bryant.
Bryant, who retired from the N.B.A. in 2016, was involved in turning a poem he wrote into a film, “Dear Basketball,” that won the prize for best animated short.
The film depicts Bryant as a child dreaming of basketball glory and as an N.B.A. star. Bryant said the film was “about the emotional journey of having a dream, believing it’ll come true; it comes true, then the realization that you have to wake up from that dream and move on to another.”
Bryant surrounded himself with first-rate teammates in creating the film, including John Williams, the five-time Oscar winning composer, and Glen Keane, a former Disney animator.
In accepting his award, Bryant said: “As basketball players we’re supposed to shut up and dribble. I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.” It was an allusion to recent comments made by the conservative pundit Laura Ingraham, who scolded basketball players who had criticized President Trump to keep their political opinions to themselves and “shut up and dribble.”
The New York Times critic Glenn Kenny said the animation of “Dear Basketball” had “gorgeous fluency,” but that the film was “substance-free, an advertisement for itself. It deserves to not receive an Oscar for that reason alone.”
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