After winning his first Oscar on March 4, Kobe Bryant reveals why the unexpected victory means even more to him than any of his NBA championship titles.

Kobe Bryant took home the award for Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards this year, and in the press room after the show, he opened up about why the win made him so emotional. “It’s, I feel, better than winning the championship, to be honest with you,” Kobe told reporters. “I swear I do. Growing up as a kid, I dreamt of winning championships and working really hard to make that dream come true, but then to have something like this seemingly come out of left field, you know….and I heard a lot of people telling me, when I started writing, they would ask me, ‘What are you going to do when you retire?’ and I’d say, “Well, I want to be a writer, I want to be a storyteller.” And I got a lot of, ‘That’s cute, that’s cute. You’ll be depressed when your career is over and you’ll come back to playing.’ I got that a lot. So to be here, right now, and to have, like, a sense of validation is, dude — this is crazy man.”

The five-time NBA championship winner won the award for his short film, Dear Basketball, and accepted the honor with his director, Glen Keane, during the show. Kobe retired from basketball in April 2016, and the short film shows him talking about his love of the game on the night before he officially hung up his jersey for good. Now that he has validation, though, he’s ready to keep making movies. “John Williams, it sounds crazy to even say that, but after he scored the film, he looked at me and Glen and goes, “Okay, that was way too short, you gotta give me something longer,’” Kobe revealed. “And I was like, ‘Oh, oh, oh — okay. We’re working on it. We’re trying.”

Kobe is definitely serious about a career as a filmmaker, so it definitely seems like there will be a lot more where this came from!

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