Dear Basketball (2017)
Dir: Glen Keane
This is an interesting project, a beautiful animated short made with a clear purpose and used for a special event that still holds up well when taken out of that context.
Sports star Kobe Bryant narrates this animated short film as a letter to his lifelong love, basketball. Animated in a largely monochrome sketch-style, a simple and charming look that works really well as a lovely and different way of marking a retirement.
Very short at only five minutes, this doesn’t over-complicate what it’s trying to do, it keeps things very simple. Animated moments of his career that’s a beautiful alternative to the standard montage of clips that are ubiquitously cut together for retiring sports stars, as well as a depiction of his childhood, poignantly narrated by Kobe Bryant himself.
I’m not a sports fan, so although I’d heard of Kobe Bryant I wouldn’t have recognized him and know nothing of his life or career, despite this I still very much enjoyed this film and can imagine it would be particular emotive for his fans who remember some of the moments briefly depicted. To make it even more effective John Williams wrote the score after Bryant called him directly and asked him to, it’s lovely with all the swelling strings you might expect for something as unapologetically sentimental as this is.
It’s a touching and heartfelt short film that feels really personal and is a lovely way to mark one’s retirement. Taken out of that context it’s still very good, though may not hold up against competition to the point of winning an Academy Award.
Nominated for ‘Best Animated Short’ at the Academy Awards, it deserves the inclusion though I don’t expect it will get the win.