Kobe Bryant Denied Entry Into The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Kobe Bryant is a basketball legend. The retired NBA player was a shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers for the duration of his 20 year career. He entered the NBA directly from high school and won five NBA championships with the Lakers. Bryant is an 18-time All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA Team, and 12 time member of the All-Defensive team. With a list of accomplishments like that, Kobe is not used to being denied. However, 39 year-old Bryant, who is arguably one of the greatest basketball players in history, is being turned down by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“Dear Basketball” is an animated short film written and narrated by Bryant and directed and animated by Glen Keane. The film is based on a letter Bryant wrote to The Players’ Tribune announcing his retirement from basketball back in 2015. The short film won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards.
As usual with Bryant, he continues to make history, marking the first time an NBA player has won this award, as well as the first Oscar win for Keane, who is a veteran Disney animator. Academy Award winners and nominees, are often considered for inclusion in the 8,000 member organization membership, with the ultimate decision of who gets admitted to the group residing with the 54-member board of governors. While Bryant was recommended for membership by the short films and feature animation branch, he did not make the final cut. Although the branch’s governor, Bill Kroyer, argued that Bryant has expressed a desire to work in the short films space, the committee ultimately decided that the five-time NBA champion needed to show evidence of a larger career in the film industry, before being granted membership. Kobe is already working on his next film project, so time will tell if the committee will one day approve his membership.
Kobe’s Oscar win was not without controversy. In the wake of winning the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, questions of the 2003 rape accusation against him resurfaced. When nominations were announced, an online petition was created asking the academy of motion picture arts and sciences to rescind the nomination. Amid growing pressure from the #MeToo movement, over 16,000 people signed the petition, which was called “Take Oscar Nomination Away From Kobe Bryant, a Known Rapist.” Read more: Accepting the award, Bryant said the win was validation he could succeed both on and off the court.
“As basketball players, we’re told to shut up and dribble. I’m glad we did a little bit more than that,” Kobe said.