The late athlete wrote and narrated an animated short film about his retirement from basketball

By Claudia Harmata
January 26, 2020 06:44 PM

Kobe Bryant not only had five NBA championship wins, two Olympic gold medals and an NBA MVP honor under his belt, but the late basketball legend was among the few professional athletes to also win an Academy Award.

In 2018, Bryant — who died in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning — took home the Oscar for best animated short for Dear Basketball. The film was an animated short that he wrote and narrated about his retirement from the sport.

After receiving the honor, Bryant spoke to reporters about his win and said that it had always been his dream to write.

RELATED: Kobe Bryant Dies in Calabasas Helicopter Crash at 41

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“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.”

The athlete 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.

RELATED: How Kobe Bryant Coached His Daughters to ‘Pursue Excellence’ On and Off the Court Before His Death

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On Sunday morning, the former Los Angeles Lakers player was killed in a helicopter crash in Calabasas, a source confirms to PEOPLE. He was 41.

A rep for Bryant confirmed to TMZ that his daughter Gianna, 13, was also killed in the crash. The outlet says that Bryant’s wife, Vanessa Bryant, was not onboard.

Emergency personnel responded but none of the nine people onboard survived, a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said during a press conference.

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

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