Glen Keane Was Drawn to Kobe Bryant for 'Dear Basketball'

The Frame


When Kobe Bryant retired twenty sixteen he penned a farewell letter to to the game that he called dear basketball? It was later turned into an animated short film by veteran animator. Glen Keane with music by John Williams the composer for star our wars and other classic films. This is all I have left to give a mind can in handle the grind body news time to say goodbye. Dear Basketball won an academy award in two thousand. Eighteen keen is a former Disney animator. Her you'd never met Kobe prior to the making of deer basketball and he told me about that nervous first meeting when Kobe and his family visited his animation studio that day. He he showed up with Vanessa and the girls and we brought him an and there was this moment of like. Uh what's Kobe going to think of. This tiny little studio was in little duplex. And I mean it wasn't like the big fancy studios this and you looked around and saw the sketches on the wall. And you know for a moment I thought oh I know. He's got to be disappointed. Did he said it's perfect. Yeah they're recording of of Kobe's monologue. His his read comes comes off is Very intimate what conversations. Did you have with him about the recitation of of the peace. Did you sort sort of guide him or coach him at all. We walk down the street from our little studio too recording studio at the end of a point Setia. Yeah it's a recording studio. Where actual Michael Jackson recorded thriller and Coby was so nervous to go in there like this? I mean he's such a fan of Michael Jackson's work and when we came time to record Kobe was very quiet he he delivered it in in a very simple straightforward conversational way. I thought okay. Good well he's got that done. Now he's going to deliver something more dramatic second time exactly clearly the same their time delivered exactly the same and at that point I realized this is it. Kobe's going to deliver something very pure entirely sincere. Not Inflected selected not dramatized. He's not performing. He's revealing who he is and it became the the driver for for the the way. Every part of this whole piece was going to be. I am wondering if he was thinking in terms of creating something that would speak speak for itself after he was gone. Not only from the basketball court but from from life An and was he thinking about his legacy and future generations nations and how they viewed him for Kobe. He knew what he had done in setting a path for others. So this was this was his purpose us very much to inspire new generations beyond him. I mean that was very intentional. Talking to coby he would have this intense fierce look in his eyes that would his spirit spirit in this movie had to connect to you in a very visceral way like him and I told the Kobe Kobe. I can't just animate you moving across in shooting the ball. I have to know what's in your head. What's in your heart? How how are you feeling? So we went shot by shot through Youtube of Kobe's twenty greatest plays and he remembered -membered every moment and described that moment why he was able to do that shot. What was his intention? I could live live in his skin. That's what was for nanometer. It's all about living in the skin of someone you animate. I mean there was a a His fade shot. Where he he would throw his right hip out a little bit left? Hip was just back just for enough enough and then you know he would come at the opponent and then back off and leap up into the air at a certain angle and do the whole thing and I studied it and I knew it I knew it exactly the angle of his hand so I mean early on. I said Kobe. You've got the worst basketball player in the world animating. Neal Neil said that's okay Glenn because everything you learn about basketball is going to be through studying him so after film was done we. You're at the Lakers. Training Center and the lights were off on the court and I walked in and grabbed a basketball. I thought I can do this. I mean this was so much about Kobe. Set your mind to it and you study and you you can do it so I got the ball. I went way back into a three point shot. I mean way back. I wasn't making it easy on myself. And I travelled ball then I jumped and through my right hip out and my hand was ninety degrees everything and all the way to releasing the ball and coby would say you know even after the ball was off of his fingertips. I felt like still had enough control. If I pull my finger back might just not bounce too hard on the backboard. I mean there was this mystical connection between him and the ball and I felt all of that insight as released the ball. It was flying. I could not believe it straight for the basket ask it on a perfect arc Iran. I was dumbfounded and that fell ten feet short. But how do you read the words now in the aftermath of this tragedy. There's a profound depth to them about him talking about his his body. Not being able to go on. It's time to give it up time to let it go.

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