Kobe Bryant won an Oscar

8 Comments

Kobe Bryant is working hard to change the narrative of his legacy. On Sunday, he received the biggest boost to that effort he could have received.

That’s right. Kobe Bryant won an Oscar.

During the 90th Academy Awards, Bryant and famed Walt Disney animator Glen Keane beat out Negative Space, Lou, Garden Party, and Revolting Rhymes to take home the Oscar for Best Short Film (Animated).

The short, called “Dear Basketball” was based off of the retirement announcement of the former Los Angeles Lakers star.

In the short, Bryant recounts his version of his journey from child to superstar, and his decision to hang it up after years of playing in the NBA. It’s impressive, although that’s to be expected given the heavy hitters involved in both Keane and composer John Williams.

Of course, context for Bryant’s short film is necessary. Yes, Bryant has been a major face in the NBA for two decades and will continue to be as he stays in the spotlight. However, Bryant has tried to make a major pivot into being a “storyteller” as a post-playing career. He’s been everywhere, not only with “Dear Basketball” but with his weird, puppet-centric “Musecage” series during last season’s NBA Finals.

Bryant even took to a long sit down with former Lakers rival Shaquille O’Neal in which both grinned and spun a tale nobody should believe. In that fiction, Bryant told us that he was cool with Shaq’s incessant prodding. Shaq then said he had only egged Kobe on over the years for the sake of marketing.

Uh uh.

For Kobe’s part, much of his pivot seems to be done in order to keep him culturally relevant and allow him an active hand in the massaging of his legacy. Bryant was a dogged competitor, and often a destructive force and personality, grating on his teammates and those around him. “Musecage” and to a lesser extent, “Dear Basketball” try to soften that view of his career, changing the verbiage on it to reflect his singlemindedness as a positive worthy more of respect than a critical eye.

This will allow him to continue to sell his line of shoes with Nike (like the A.D) long after the last time Bryant stepped on an NBA floor, much in the vein of his hero Michael Jordan.

It’s a transparent marketing ploy, and one that will no doubt work. Heck, Kobe’s already done the heavy lifting in hiring a legendary illustrator and perhaps the most prolific film composer of the 20th century, and it’s won him a dang Oscar less than two years after his final NBA game.

Kobe Bryant has an Oscar now. What else is there to say?

PBT Extra: One last mock draft of NBA lottery

1 Comment

DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).

After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.

Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

AP Photo/Todd Kirkland
Leave a comment

The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
2 Comments

Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
6 Comments

The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.