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Kobe Bryant told of his pride in his post-basketball career in last interview days before his death

Just days before his death, Kobe Bryant said that winning an Academy Award and other honors for a short film he produced was more meaningful to him than all of his achievements on the basketball court with the Lakers.

‘They’re at the top for me,’ Bryant said of the numerous honors he won for Dear Basketball, an animated short film narrated by Bryant and directed by Glen Keane.

John Williams, the much-accomplished film composer, provided the music for the 2017 project, which was based on a letter Bryant wrote for The Players’ Tribune announcing his retirement in 2015.

‘It’s not something that was expected,’ he told USA Today when asked about the Oscar.

Kobe Bryant smiles as he holds his Academy Award which he won for Dear Basketball, an animated short film, in 2018

‘They’re at the top for me,’ Bryant said of the numerous honors he won for Dear Basketball, an animated short film narrated by Bryant and directed by Glen Keane. John Williams, the much-accomplished film composer, provided the music for the 2017 project, which was based on a letter Bryant wrote for The Players’ Tribune announcing his retirement in 2015

‘They’re at the top for me,’ Bryant said of the numerous honors he won for Dear Basketball, an animated short film narrated by Bryant and directed by Glen Keane. John Williams, the much-accomplished film composer, provided the music for the 2017 project, which was based on a letter Bryant wrote for The Players’ Tribune announcing his retirement in 2015

‘As a kid, you kind of have the goal of winning championships and all these sorts of things.

‘Being in the industry that I’m in now? It wasn’t something that was thought of me winning an Oscar.’

Since he retired from the Lakers, Bryant kept busy in his post-basketball career.

He started his own production company as well as his own publishing house.

Bryant also created a successful ESPN+ series analyzing exceptional athletic performances as well as a sports-themed podcast for children.

At age 41, Bryant said that people were concerned for his well-being once he finished playing professional basketball.

‘“I don’t know what you want to do when you retire”,’ Bryant says he was told.

‘“You’re going to go through a state of depression. You’re going to have an identity crisis.”

‘These are all things that were said to me because people were genuinely concerned.’

Bryant also created his own publishing house, which has printed several sports-themed children's fantasy books. He is seen above holding a copy of Training Camp (The Wizenard Series #1) at a Barnes and Noble location in New York on March 20, 2019

Bryant also created his own publishing house, which has printed several sports-themed children’s fantasy books. He is seen above holding a copy of Training Camp (The Wizenard Series #1) at a Barnes and Noble location in New York on March 20, 2019

It turned out their concern, while well-meaning, was unfounded.

Bryant founded Granity Studios, a multimedia company that produced Detail, a television series that is streamed on the ESPN+ service.

ESPN recently renewed Detail for three more seasons, ordering 52 episodes per year.

Bryant also dipped his toes into the world of publishing children’s books.

He had shopped around his idea for a sports fantasy book to traditional publishing houses, but when he was rejected, he decided to create his own imprint.

Bryant has so far published three children’s books – Legacy and the Queen; Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof; and The Wizenard Series: Training Camp.

His latest work, The Wizenard Series: Season One, is due to be published on March 31.

Bryant has so far published three children’s books. His latest work, The Wizenard Series: Season One , is due to be published on March 31

Bryant has so far published three children’s books. His latest work, The Wizenard Series: Season One , is due to be published on March 31

According to his high school creative writing teacher, Bryant always had a gift for storytelling, which is why she wasn’t surprised to see him evolve in his post-NBA career.

‘I was hoping he would coach. I was hoping I could watch him with the Lakers,’ said Jeanne Mastriano, who taught Bryant at Lower Merion High School just outside of Philadelphia.

‘But it makes a lot of sense he would take a bold leap like this.

‘It’s not easy, which is going to get him salivating.’

Bryant was an avid fan of fantasy series like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Walt Disney movies.

That formed the basis of his idea for a book.

‘I have an idea for an entire universe that centers around sports, fantasy and magic,’ Bryant said.

‘It’s as if the Olympics and Harry Potter had a baby.’

Bryant was so passionate about his publishing endeavors that he was recently looking to hire more writers to expand his Epoca and Wizenard series.

Bryant founded Granity Studios, a multimedia company that produced Detail, a television series that is streamed on the ESPN+ service. ESPN recently renewed Detail for three more seasons, ordering 52 episodes per year

Bryant founded Granity Studios, a multimedia company that produced Detail, a television series that is streamed on the ESPN+ service. ESPN recently renewed Detail for three more seasons, ordering 52 episodes per year

Bryant’s media empire also includes podcasting. He launched The Punies, a podcast that was scheduled to begin its third season of streaming this August

Bryant’s media empire also includes podcasting. He launched The Punies, a podcast that was scheduled to begin its third season of streaming this August

‘Our challenge now is taking books and making them into films, feature films and in series, some of which will be animated and some of which will be live action,’ Bryant told USA Today.

‘So it’s figuring out how to do that, while understanding that owning the intellectual property is absolutely essential.

‘It’s fun to figure out the journey, but it’s also extremely frustrating. Things don’t move as fast as you want them to.

‘But that’s OK.’

Bryant’s media empire also includes podcasting. He launched The Punies, a podcast that was scheduled to begin its third season of streaming this August.

There were discussions ongoing about turning The Punies into an animated series later this year, but it is unclear how Bryant’s death on Sunday will impact those plans.

Bryant also began coaching young girls to play basketball after his daughter, Gianna, 13, took up the sport.

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died in the private helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died in the private helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday

‘Coaching youth sports is so important to take very seriously because you’re helping the emotional (development) of young kids,’ Bryant said.

‘So it’s understanding not to be overcritical and understanding that (there) are going to be mistakes.’

Bryant also opened two training facilities for children – the Mamba Sports Academy, with locations in Thousand Oaks and Redondo Beach.

Gianna was a player on an amateur basketball team, the Mambas, named after her father’s nickname.

Kobe Bryant was known throughout his playing career as the Black Mamba, a nickname he gave himself to get through a dark period in his life.

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, were among nine people who died in the private helicopter crash in Calabasas, California, on Sunday.

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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