In Brief

NBA star Kobe Bryant wins an Oscar - but not everyone is happy

Basketball icon’s Academy Award honour criticised as rape allegation resurfaces

Kobe Bryant may have won five NBA championships but the basketball legend says that his Oscar victory ranks as one of his best ever achievements. 

Bryant claimed the Best Animated Short Film gong for Dear Basketball at last night’s Academy Awards. Written and narrated by Bryant, and directed by Glen Keane, the five-minute film is based on the poem of the same name written by the former NBA star and published in The Players’ Tribune when he retired from the sport in 2015. 

Accepting his Oscar at the ceremony in Los Angeles, Bryant referenced Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who recently said that NBA players should simply “shut up and dribble”. He said: “As basketball players, we’re really supposed to shut up and dribble. But I’m glad we do a little bit more than that. Thank you, Academy, for this amazing honour.”

Bryant later compared his Oscar and NBA title wins. “I feel better than winning championships,” Bryant told the Associated Press. “This is crazy, man, it’s crazy.”

NBA icons LeBron James, ‘Magic’ Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal tweeted their congratulations to Bryant following his Oscar win. But not everyone happy to see the former LA Laker star take home the golden statue.

This year’s Oscars was the first in the post-Weinstein era, and much of the focus was on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements to expose abuse and sexual harassment.

In 2003, Bryant was accused of raping a 19-year-old hotel employee in Colorado - an accusation that resurfaced amid his Oscars triumph. While the charges against Bryant were dropped, he issued a public apology at the time in which he admitted that consent was not properly given.

The Washington Post says that last night’s awards show “sought to right serious wrongs in Hollywood”. 

But, according to CBS News, Twitter users were quick to criticise the “out of touch” Academy for honouring Bryant.

Teen Vogue says that for all the “steps forward that have been made” in Hollywood, “there is still a massive amount of work to be done”.

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