May 8, 2016
Kobe Bryant Inks Deal To Turn 'Dear Basketball' Into A Short Film, Will Appear In A Series Of Sports Illustrated Mini Documentaries

Kobe Bryant retired from the Los Angeles Lakers, but he won't be disappearing after his exit from the NBA. Kobe recently inked a deal to turn his Dear Basketball retirement poem into a short film along with a handful of Sports Illustrated mini-documentaries that will keep the Lakers' star busy post-basketball at least for a few months.

By now, everyone has heard about Kobe Bryant's Dear Basketball poem that was published in the Players' Tribune in November 2015. The heartfelt tribute to Kobe's favorite game was the best way to say goodbye, to alert his faithful fans that it was time to hang up his number 24 jersey as the current NBA season ended.

Kobe Bryant told fans of his next adventure via a press release late last week. He announced news that his own production company called Kobe Studios will be partnering with Sports Illustrated Group and Believe Entertainment Group to make a short film about his Dear Basketball retirement poem. The animated short will be scored by famous composer John Williams, who also worked on epic musical scores in movies like Indiana Jones and Star Wars. The exclusive Dear Basketball animated short will be available on in the fall of 2016.

"We are proud to collaborate with Kobe to tell the comprehensive story of his first endeavor after retiring from the NBA in a way that only SI can," said Rich Battista, President of the Time Inc. Entertainment and Sports Group and Video in the press release. "We are excited for Kobe's fans and the global community of sport, entertainment and art enthusiasts to experience these productions."

In addition to what should be an amazing score, Kobe Bryant will narrate the animated short that also has Glen Keane on board as the lead illustrator. Keane is famous in Disney circles for his work on feature length animated films including Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid.
"Dear Basketball is the perfect tribute to something I've loved for so long. Glen and John are two legends in their industries, so to partner with them on the creative process is a dream come true. Working with Sports Illustrated on this special project is an amazing opportunity to hopefully inspire fans all over the world."
In addition to the highly-anticipated Dear Basketball animated short, Kobe Bryant will also be involved in a series of mini-documentaries for Sports Illustrated. These short films will take Bryant's fans behind the scenes and explain the process of making the animated film.

Los Angeles Lakers fans can add news of Kobe Bryant's Dear Basketball animated short to a long list of great moments as the NBA legend wraps up his final year. Despite a lackluster last season, which was expected by Lakers fans, Kobe was able to finish his last gam with a new record. He was the only player in history to score 60 points in the last game of their career. He went out with a huge bang at the end of a season what was nothing more than a whimper.

It makes sense that Kobe Bryant would want to wrap everything up by putting his touching Players' Tribune poem to music and animation in such a way that everyone can appreciate his love for the game. With powerhouses like Glen Keane directing and John Williams composing, I'm calling it now. Kobe's animated adaptation of Dear Basketball has the potential to become the Fantasia of sports.

[Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images]