When Kobe Bryant retired from the NBA almost exactly a year ago, he did something completely unexpected prior to his bittersweet exit: wrote a poem. Titled “Dear Basketball,” Bryant eloquently shared his passion for the game by almost personifying basketball as the love of his life — and now that love letter is a short film.
Illustrated by legendary Disney animator Glen Keane and scored by John Williams, “Dear Basketball” presents Bryant’s poem in a visual that’s as heartwarming (and even tear-jearking) as the ode to the sport itself. The entire short has a sketched look — mainly black-and-white with only Bryant’s Laker purple and gold as accent colors — backed by a dynamic orchestral number that fits the prophetic tone of the superstar’s piece seamlessly.
Bryant premiered “Dear Basketball” Sunday afternoon (April 23) at Tribeca Film Festival, also taking part in a conversation with Keane and moderator Michael Strahan which revealed much more than just Bryant’s love for basketball and new found love for storytelling. One of the most surprising parts? Who he revealed as his biggest inspiration.