Kobe Bryant was in talks to create animation studio before his death


Kobe Bryant’s second act was only starting when he tragically died last month in a helicopter crash that also killed his 13-year-old daughter Gianna and seven other passengers. After his basketball career ended, Bryant did not slow down, altering his focus to creative goals. The Los Angeles Lakers legend won an Oscar for his short “Dear Basketball” after launching his production company Granity Studios, and was looking forward to bringing more original ideas onto people’s screens.

Winning an Academy Award was not the end goal for Bryant, who wanted to change the lives of others through storytelling and inspirational messages. 

Bryant told CBS “This Morning” before his death:

“I want a diverse animation team. That is the opportunity. I want young African American children to understand that there is a serious [entertainment] industry that you can pursue. We can’t just talk about it. We’ve got to be about it.”

Before his death, Bryant was in serious talks about creating an animation studio. Bruce W. Smith, creator of the Disney animated show “The Proud Family,” said in an interview with Double Toasted that he and the creator of the “Despicable Me” franchise, Sergio Pablos, sat down with Bryant over dinner to go over future animation projects. 

“[Bryant] was heavily invested in starting an animation studio. So for the past six months or so Kobe and I have been in deep talks about making that happen,” Smith said. “So we’re together finding artists to galvanize his dream and Kobe was, like they were saying, Kobe was beginning his second act and animation was going to play a huge part in that.”

On Showtime’s “All the Smoke” podcast, in one of Bryant’s final interviews, he discussed some objectives for his future projects. 

Bryant did not want to write about princesses waiting to be saved, he wanted stories that spoke to girls like his and ones that would inspire younger generations. “I wanted to create stories that I could read to them,” Bryant told hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson.

Granity Studios, a multimedia company founded by Bryant, wanted to turn its podcast series “The Punies” into an animated series and had other books in mind to create as animated works. Those included “Legacy and the Queen,” a book about a 12-year-old tennis player that Bryant helped create. 

Bryant said in a statement that the studio wanted to bring something to the table that is not yet present. 

“There’s surprisingly little content that combines the passion of sports and the traditions of original storytelling. Granity Studios will fill that void,” he said. 

When the NBA icon sat down with CBS News last November, he was asked about his legacy. His answer was not basketball-based, but about inspiring kids. 

He said he wanted to be remembered “as a person that was able to create stories that inspired children and families to bond together, and for their children to dream. But not only dream but have the initiative to wake up every morning and do all they can to help that dream become a reality. That would be really, really cool.”





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