Basketball legend Kobe Bryant was honored at this year’s Academy Awards as you might expect, and even had an Oscar dedicated to his memory.
The Los Angeles Lakers lost his life at the end of last month when the helicopter he was traveling in came down over Calabasas, California, killing him, his 13-year-old daughter Gianni and seven others.
The Academy treated Kobe as one of their own, not just because he plied his trade at the Staples Center just a few miles from Hollywood but because he was an Oscar winner himself.
Kobe Bryant the Oscar winner
In 2018, Kobe won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for his film Dear Basketball. The six-minute film is based on a poem Kobe wrote in 2015 when he retired from the NBA.
In his acceptance speech, he spoke about how grateful he was for the award, stating: “I don’t know if it’s possible. I mean, as basketball players, we’re expected to shut up and dribble, but I’m glad we do a bit more than that.”
It was this year’s winner in that category that dedicated their Oscar to Kobe. Matthew A. Cherry, a former athlete himself, won the category for his film Hair Love.
Cherry, who played college football at Akron, said in his acceptance speech: “This award is dedicated to Kobe Bryant. May we all have a second act as great as his was.”
Kobe was the first person featured in the In Memoriam segment.
He was credited as an athlete and producer, and his picture accompanied the quote: “Life is too short to get bogged down and be discouraged. You have to keep moving. You have to keep going.”
Spike Lee had his own tribute to Kobe Bryant
Spike Lee also had his own tribute to the basketball legend. He wore a suit in the Los Angeles Lakers colors, which was emblazoned with Kobe’s number.
Spike Lee hits the #Oscars red carpet in a full head to toe tribute to the late Kobe Bryant ?? https://t.co/TUq7dnYDVF pic.twitter.com/tXGK3SqO7p
— Good Morning America (@GMA) February 9, 2020
On the day of Kobe’s death, the Academy tweeted a picture of a beaming Kobe with his Oscar statuette and remarked how he proved the doubters wrong by succeeding in the NBA by winning a championship, and by winning an Oscar.
They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong.
They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong.
They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar.
Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong.
Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/1fYnKHbnt7
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 26, 2020
Some fans were upset a few names missed out on getting a mention in the In Memoriam segment this year. Luke Perry and Cameron Boyce were both absent from the memorial.