Kobe Bryant became an Oscar winner in 2018 when he won Best Animated Short

By Ale Russian
January 28, 2020 04:29 PM
Advertisement

Kobe Bryant will be honored at the 2020 Oscars, two years becoming an Oscar winner himself.

A spokesperson for The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences tells PEOPLE the ceremony will pay tribute to the late basketball legend. (The Hollywood Reporter first reported on the news.)

Bryant died Sunday at 41 in a tragic helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and 7 others.

The athlete took home an Oscar in 2018 for Best Animated Short for his sweet film Dear Basketball, based on a poem he wrote about the sport when announcing his retirement in 2015. Bryant worked with animator Glen Keane to bring the short story to life, which Bryant also narrated.

“I feel better than winning the championship,” Bryant told reporters following his victory in 2018. “I swear. Growing up as a kid, I dreamt of winning championships and worked really hard. But then to have something like this come out of left field.”

“I heard a lot of people tell me, ‘What are you going to do when you retire?’ I want to be a writer and a storyteller,” he explained. “I got a lot of, ‘That’s cute.’ I got that a lot. To be here right now and have a sense of validation, this is crazy.”

Kobe Bryant
Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images

Bryant also went on to co-create a young adult fiction book series with Wesley King titled The Wizenard Series, which follows five young basketball players in a Harry Potter-esque story.

In his short and sweet Oscars speech, Bryant thanked his wife and daughters with a sweet message in Italian.

“To my wife Vanessa and our daughters Natalia, Gianna and Bianka, ti amo con tutto il cuore [I love you with all my heart]. You are my inspiration,” he said.

Bryant is survived by Vanessa, 37, and three of their four children together: daughters Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.

Earlier this month, Bryant — who officially retired in 2016 — revealed that he had recently started watching basketball all the time because of his daughter. Sources told ESPN that the helicopter was headed to a travel basketball game for Gianna, who went by the nickname Gigi.

“Before Gigi got into basketball I hardly watched it, but now that’s she’s into basketball, we watch every night,” Bryant told former NBA players Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on the Showtime Basketball podcast All the Smoke.

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.