Kobe Bryant is undoubtedly the first Slam Dunk champion to be nominated for an Academy Award, as the 39-year-old Los Angeles Lakers' legend earned an Oscar nomination on Tuesday morning for his animated short film, Dear Basketball.
Bryant has five NBA championships, two Olympics gold medals, four All-Star Game MVPs, two NBA Finals MVPs and one NBA Most Valuable Player trophy, so the man has made a habit of winning.
Potentially adding an Oscar to his trophy haul may be the most remarkable of all of Bryant's achievements because, well, he spent the first 37 years of his life obsessing over basketball and is only in his second year as a film maker.
The animated short film, of course, is about the sport Bryant spent the first act of his life perfecting. In the animated film, Bryant attempts to show what the sport meant to him as a child and also why he must say goodbye to the game he loves dearly.
With world famous composer John Williams doing the score, Bryant's Academy Awards nominated animated short film always seemed likely to earn an Oscar nomination. Considering the man behind the film, anything short of a victory on Oscar night would be a shock at this stage.
Once Bryant has inevitably captured an Oscar, one has to wonder about the super talented former basketball player's singing and dancing abilities because, surely, the Tony Awards and Grammy Awards are next on his trophy list.
Talking about a Grammy or Tony award may be far-fetched and is mostly in jest, but Bryant getting nominated for an Academy Award wasn't exactly the expectation when Bryant was draining buckets for 20 years in the NBA.
One would suspect that Bryant's star power will push him to victory in a category, Best Animated Short Film, that is not normally known to attract attention. Regardless of whether he wins or not, being nominated for an Academy Award is a tremendously impressive achievement, and on Tuesday morning, Bryant joined the exclusive club of Oscar nominees.
Still, one feels Bryant will win.
What?? This is beyond the realm of imagination. It means so much that the @TheAcademy deemed #DearBasketball worthy of contention. Thanks to the genius of @GlenKeanePrd & John Williams for taking my poem to this level. It's an honor to be on this team. #OscarNoms pic.twitter.com/M2joyk9D1V— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) January 23, 2018
At Tuesday's shootaround, Lakers coach Luke Walton, who was a former teammate of Bryant's, said he thought the news was "awesome" and said that he wasn't surprised in the least.
"From what I've been told, he works as hard on that stuff as he did as a player, and he stays extremely busy doing all that," Walton said about his former teammate. "When he puts his mind to things, he's obviously very good at finishing."
Walton added, "I'm happy for him but not surprised at all."