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Shorts

Glen Keane and John Williams Team Up With Kobe Bryant for ‘Dear Basketball’

Here’s an unlikely dream-team collaboration between three legends: one known for his animation, another for his music, and another from the world of sports. Glen Keane is teaming up with newly-retired Los Angeles Laker Kobe Bryant to direct an “animated ode to sport,” Dear Basketball, based on the poem that Bryant wrote last fall to announce his retirement from the game.

If Keane’s starpower wasn’t enough, the short’s music will be composed by five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams, who has scored everyone’s favorite blockbusters including Jaws, E.T., Jurassic Park, the Indiana Jones series, the first three Harry Potter films, and Star Wars.

Dear Basketball is the perfect tribute to something I’ve loved for so long,” said Bryant in a statement. “Glen and John are two legends in their industries, so to partner with them on the creative process is a dream come true.”

The project is being produced by Bryant’s Kobe Studios, Believe Entertainment Group, and Sports Illustrated, and the film will premiere this fall on the latter’s SI.com, along with a series of mini-documentaries exploring the production process, including how Keane created the animation.

“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. “We are excited for Kobe’s fans and the global community of sport, entertainment and art enthusiasts to experience these productions.”

Here is the poem on which Keane’s film will be based:

Dear Basketball,

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.

A love so deep I gave you my all —
From my mind & body
To my spirit & 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 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
:05 seconds on the clock
Ball in my hands.
5 … 4 … 3 … 2 … 1

Love you always,
Kobe

(Kobe Bryant photo: Keith Allison)

  • Sign me up! This is gonna be powerful!

  • Grady Williams

    Keane is indeed a master, but I could image Peter Chung giving Kobe the “Style” we expect from Kobe.

    • Tony

      True. But Keane’s work has more heart, which is what I suspect Kobe was after.

  • Strong Enough

    john williams didnt score all the harry potter films

    • AmidAmidi

      Clarified that.

  • RCooke

    Curious to know who might be directing these? Has that been announced?

    • AmidAmidi

      Glen is directing the short.

      • RCooke

        Brilliant animator, no doubt–one of the best. But not yet a particularly compelling director.

  • OtherDan

    VR seems appropriate for this short. I wonder if that’s what they’re up to.

  • Big Bang