Where to Watch Kobe Bryant's Oscar-Winning Short Film 'Dear Basketball'

Kobe Bryant will go down in history as one of the greatest ever players to have graced the game of basketball, but his impact was not restricted to the court.

After bringing down the curtain on a trophy-laden 20-year career in 2016, Bryant, whose life was tragically cut short in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning, took his talents to the world of cinema.

In 2015, Bryant, who died along his 13-year-old daughter Gianna on Sunday, wrote a poem for The Players' Tribune in 2015 in which he expressed his love for the game and explained his reasons for retiring.

Entitled "Dear Basketball," the letter served as the basis of a short animated film which was released two years later under the same title.

"From the moment I started rolling my dad's tube socks and shooting imaginary game-winning shots in the Great Western Forum, I knew one thing was real: I fell in love with you," Bryant wrote.

A love so deep I gave you my all—from my mind and body, to my spirit and soul. As a six-year-old boy deeply in love with you, I never saw the end of the tunnel. I only saw myself running out of one. And so I ran. I ran up and down every court, after every loose ball for you.

You asked for my hustle; I gave you my heart, because it came with so much more. I played through the sweat and the hurt, not because challenge called me but because you called me. I did everything for you, because that's what you do when someone makes you feel as alive as you've made me feel.

You gave a six-year-old boy his Laker dream and I'll always love you for it. But I can't love you obsessively for much longer. This season is all I have left to give.

My heart can take the pounding, my mind can handle the grind, but my body knows it's time to say goodbye and that's OK. I'm ready to let you go.

I want you to know now so we both can savor every moment we have left together. The good and the bad. We have given each other all that we have.

And we both know, no matter what I do next, I'll always be that kid with the rolled up socks, garbage can in the corner, five seconds on the clock, ball in my hands.

Five... four... three... two... one...

Love you always,

Kobe

Bryant wrote and narrated the movie, which was directed and animated by Glen Keane and scored by composer John Williams.

In the movie, which can be watched here, the five-time NBA champion described how his love for the game began as a young child and remained undeterred through two decades of professional basketball, during which he and the sport reciprocally gave each other all they had.

The movie won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film at the 90th Academy Awards ceremony in 2018, making Bryant the first ever professional athlete to win an Oscar.

The Los Angeles Lakers great used his acceptance speech to address the issue of players making their voices heard in the political arena.

"I don't know if it's possible," he said on stage, after Williams had suggested that through "passion and perseverance" the impossible could be possible.

"I mean, as basketball players we're really supposed to shut up and dribble, but I'm glad we do a little bit more than that."

Bryant's comments appeared to be a direct criticism of Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham's suggestion that basketball players just "shut up and dribble" and steer well clear of politics.

A month before the 90th Academy Awards ceremony, Ingraham had criticized LeBron James and Kevin Durant, who had appeared in a video which accused President Donald Trump of "not caring about the people".

"This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA," Ingraham said.

"Oh, and LeBron and Kevin? You're great players, but no one voted for you. Millions elected Trump to be their coach. So keep the political commentary to yourself, or as someone once said, shut up and dribble."

Kobe Bryant, Academy Awards
Filmmaker Kobe Bryant, winner of the Best Animated Short Film award for 'Dear Basketball,' poses in the press room during the 90th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 4, 2018 in Hollywood, California. Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty
Where to Watch Kobe Bryant's Oscar-Winning Short Film 'Dear Basketball' | Sports