Kobe Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and an 18-time All-Star during a 20-year Hall of Fame basketball career.
As of Sunday night, Bryant is now an Oscar winner as well.
Bryant’s Hollywood career got a huge boon on Sunday when the retired Los Angeles Lakers legend took home an Academy Award for his animated short film called “Dear Basketball,” which was based on a poem he wrote in 2015 announcing his retirement.
Heat star Dwyane Wade, who is married to actress Gabrielle Union and recently made his own foray into the movie-making industry as an executive producer, said he wasn’t just happy for Bryant, he was thankful his work was recognized in such a way.
“It was incredible, man,” Wade said. “First off, his animation talents and his stories is something I enjoy. To be able to go outside of the sport that people know you in and as, and to do something that is one of the most popular things when it comes to awards you can have in this world. He’s just getting started and to be in this position where he wins an Oscar, it does amazing things for the next generation and next wave of athletes and kids as well when you talk about being more than just a professional athlete. It was just incredible. I’m happy for him, but I’m thankful for him because he just set a bar, and it’s our job to continue to raise the bar.”
Wade collaborated with Chance the Rapper as an executive producer on the basketball documentary “A Shot in the Dark” that recently aired on Fox. The film focuses on stories of triumph and struggle for the Orr Academy high school basketball team from Wade’s hometown in Chicago.
Wade, who said he’s not considering going into acting after he retires, said he hopes Bryant’s Oscar win continues to open doors for athletes who wish to pursue their talents in other fields beyond basketball.
In his acceptance speech, Bryant made reference to the comments made by Fox News host Laura Ingraham saying that players should stay out of politics and other topics and just “shut up and dribble.”
Bryant said: “Well, I don’t know if it’s possible — as basketball players, we’re really supposed to just shut up and dribble,” Bryant said to laughter, “but I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.”
Wade said on Monday: “We’re more than just basketball players. This is a talent and a gift that God has given us and you want to be as great as you can, but life goes on beyond this game. Kobe played for what seemed like forever and he retired at 37.”
DEALING WITH LOSS
Rookie center Bam Adebayo was back with the team Monday after attending the funeral services for his late great grandmother, Gladys Dills, in North Carolina. Adebayo was given permission by the Heat to miss Saturday’s home game against the Pistons.
Adebayo said Dills, who was 95, was like a sister to him and played a big role in his upbringing.
“I lived across the street from her so I got to see her every day, talked to her every day,” Adebayo said. “She’s gone now so you start to cherish stuff like that. It’s like, ‘I just saw you two months ago up and around talking.’ You just cherish moments like that with her.
She spoiled me. When my mom went to work I got everything I wanted, so she played a big role in my life. My mom kept me steady and didn’t let me get too spoiled. I loved my great grandma. She was like my sister. You cherish those moments. And it’s hard to see her go.”
▪ Wayne Ellington (left quad) missed his third consecutive game with a left quad bruise, but Tyler Johnson (left quad) was available for Monday’s game against Phoenix after each participated in the team’s pregame shootaround.
Johnson was available to play after missing the past two games with his own left quad bruise that he suffered, just like Ellington, in the Heat’s win over the 76ers this past Tuesday.
▪ Guard Derrick Walton Jr. rejoined the Heat on Monday as part of his two-way contract.