February 24, 2020

Kobe Bryant: A Beloved Basketball Player and Storyteller

posted on: Thursday February 13, 2020

by Grace O’Connor ’22 A&E Staff

“I love the idea of creative content whether it’s mythology or animation, written or film, that can inspire people and give them something tangible they can use in their own lives,” said Kobe Bryant to Sports Illustrated in 2018. 

Bryant founded Granity Studios to develop his own content in order to combine his love of basketball and fantasy. He took his vision to this studio in order to see his dream play out. Bryant directed one of Granity’s earliest projects, Detail, which was meant to teach basketball in the same way that the legendary Tex Winter did. He stated, “If this show existed when I was 11 or 12 years old, I believe by the age of 21, 22, I would have been a much better basketball player,” when asked by the New York Times in 2018. 

Bryant claimed, “Animation can capture the emotion in the story in a much more compelling, visual way than live action.” He always had an interest in animation and he made the previous statement to Glen Kaene. Kaene helped Bryant produce Dear Basketball, a story based on a poem that he used to promote his retirement from basketball. The film showed him both as a young boy and as the star he became. 

PHOTO COURTESY OF IMDB

Dear Basketball won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film and the Annie Award. After Bryant’s passing, Kaene commented, “As soon as he stepped into animation, he eagerly began soaking up every aspect of it. Working with him was a dream and one of the high points of my career.” 

PHOTO COURTESY OF IMDB

This highlights Bryant’s influence on the movie industry and his versatility. Bryant had an eye for animation and helped Kaene to see a different perspective, proving that Bryant understood the importance of the little details that go into making a film. Kaene mentioned that it was really important to Bryant to tell a story that resonates with everyone. Bryant wanted to make changes for the better and his involvement in the movie industry portrays his drive to tell a genuine, compelling story.

Bryant’s love for storytelling started when he was young. In high school, he took creative writing classes which helped strengthen his creative writing abilities and fed his interest in storytelling. He studied movies from Disney, as well as Harry Potter and Star Wars in order to better understand character development. 

This exemplifies his passion for telling stories and his famous “Mamba mentality” to always do more. As Bryant told the New York Times in 2015, “Cinematically, we wanted to do something that would be different from the ways documentaries are shot. This was about doing something that was fun but also honest.” Rather than writing a book, Bryant saw a film as something that got his story out more effectively. Though he did not grow up an avid reader, Bryant’s talent lies in creative writing. Bryant left a mark on the world not only as a basketball player but also as a storyteller. This was a huge part of his identity that should be recognized due to his immense efforts and true passion for the craft. He wanted to tell a story that would touch the lives of others, and he managed to do just that while still being known as one of the best basketball players in history. Kobe Bryant’s creative half bleeds through and should be recognized as an equally important part of his identity. 

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