Fans are sharing Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning short film ‘Dear Basketball’

The film received critical acclaim for Bryant's poignant portrayal of the sport he loved

Kobe Bryant’s Oscar-winning short film Dear Basketball is being shared by fans around the world, in tribute to the basketball legend who died this morning along with four other people (January 26).

Written and narrated by Bryant, directed and animated by Glen Keane, and with music from John Williams, Dear Basketball is based on a letter the star wrote to The Players’ Tribune on November 29, 2015 announcing his retirement from the game.

Upon accepting his Oscar at the 2018 awards ceremony, Bryant quipped, “As basketball players, we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble – but I’m glad we get to do a little more than that,” before paying tribute to his wife and children.

The Lakers icon later spoke about the experience of winning an Oscar on Jimmy Kimmel Live in 2018, where a visibly elated Bryant said: “I’m still tripping… This is not supposed to happen. I’m supposed to play basketball, not write something that wins an Oscar.” Watch the full interview below.

Following the reports of Bryant’s tragic death today, fans have been praising the short film’s emotional power and poignancy, with many imploring others to watch it too – regardless of whether they’re basketball fans or not.

You can watch the short film, which is just over five minutes long, here. Bryant also shared the poetic letter he sent to The Players’ Tribune, which you can read in full below.

Dear Basketball,

From the moment
I started rolling my dad’s tube socks
And shooting imaginary
Game-winning shots
In the Great Western Forum
I knew one thing was real:

I fell in love with you.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & soul.

As a six-year-old boy
Deeply in love with you
I never saw the end of the tunnel.
I only saw myself
Running out of one.

And so I ran.
I ran up and down every court
After every loose ball for you.
You asked for my hustle
I gave you my heart
Because it came with so much more.

I played through the sweat and hurt
Not because challenge called me
But because YOU called me.
I did everything for YOU
Because that’s what you do
When someone makes you feel as
Alive as you’ve made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream
And I’ll always love you for it.
But I can’t love you obsessively for much longer.
This season is all I have left to give.
My heart can take the pounding
My mind can handle the grind
But my body knows it’s time to say goodbye.

And that’s OK.
I’m ready to let you go.
I want you to know now
So we both can savor every moment we have left together.
The good and the bad.
We have given each other
All that we have. 

And we both know, no matter what I do next
I’ll always be that kid
With the rolled up socks
Garbage can in the corner
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,