After a stellar and hugely successful 20-year NBA career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant retired from the game in 2016 but it hasn't stopped him adding another major honour to his list of accomplishments.
In arguably the biggest achievement for a basketball player off the floor, the Black Mamba won an Oscar on Sunday night for his animated short "Dear Basketball," which is based on a poem he wrote for the Players' Tribune in 2015 announcing his impending retirement from basketball.
"And to Kobe, for writing 'Dear Basketball,' it's a message for all of us," Disney animator Glen Keane said during his acceptance speech with Bryant, per ESPN. "Whatever form your dream may take, it's through passion and perseverance that the impossible is possible."
The Lakers legend seemed stunned by his achievement and had to take a deep breath before delivering a strong message.
"I don't know if it's possible," Bryant said. "I mean, as basketball players, we are really supposed to shut up and dribble. But I am glad we do a little bit more than that."
Kobe was congratulated by the NBA world as Hall of Famers such as Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal, and Bill Russell took to Twitter to pay tribute to him.
Current superstars like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade also posted special messages on social media.
Speaking to reporters in the interview room after receiving his award, Bryant made an interesting admission about his feelings towards winning the Oscar.
"I feel better than winning a championship, to be honest with you. I swear I do," he said.
When he initially told people he wanted to write and tell stories after he retired from basketball, the 39-year-old revealed that he didn't get the most positive reactions.
"That's cute. You'll be depressed when your career's over. To be here now and have this sense of validation, this is crazy, man," Bryant said.
The five-time NBA champion has found a real love for his second career in writing as he announced that he's also working on a series of novels.
In an interview with Kelly L. Carter of The Undefeated, he discussed his future projects and how they're all focused on sports.
"They all center around sports. How do we take sports and tell beautiful tales, beautiful stories that connect to human nature?" he said.
"If you look at sports as a whole, it connects people worldwide, on a global scale. Much like music does. But what separates music from sports is that sports is something that unites people, something people do together."
After his success for 'Dear Basketball', there may be more awards to come in the future for the NBA great.News Now - Sport News