Former NBA Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant, along with animator Glen Keane, won the Oscar on Sunday night for best animated short film for “Dear Basketball.”
The film is based on a poem Bryant wrote in 2015 announcing his impending retirement from his basketball career.
During their acceptance speech, Keane said, “Whatever form your dream may take, it’s through passion and perseverance that the impossible is possible.”
When Bryant, the executive producer of the film, stepped to the microphone, he took the opportunity to point out a comment Fox News host Laura Ingraham made about Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James, telling him to “shut up and dribble.”
“Well, I don’t know if it’s possible — as basketball players, we’re really supposed to just shut up and dribble,” Bryant said, “but I’m glad we do a little bit more than that.”
Last month, Ingraham attempted to belittle James for talking about politics.
In an interview released on “UNINTERRUPTED,” a multimedia platform for athletes (co-founded by James), the four-time NBA MVP and entrepreneur told host Cari Champion his thoughts on President Donald Trump.
“The No. 1 job in America, the appointed person is someone who doesn’t understand the people,” James said, sitting alongside the Golden State Warriors’ Kevin Durant.
“And really don’t give a f**k about the people. When I was growing up, there was like three jobs that you looked [up to] for inspiration. It was the president of the United States, it was whoever was best in sports and it was the greatest musician. You never thought you could be them, but you can grab inspiration [from them].
“It’s not even a surprise when he says something,” James said of Trump’s rhetoric. “It’s like laughable. It’s laughable, and it’s scary.”
On Feb. 15, during her Fox News program “The Ingraham Angle,” Ingraham responded by insulting James, insinuating the only thing he can do is play basketball.
“This is what happens when you attempt to leave high school a year early to join the NBA,” she said. “And it’s always unwise to seek political advice from someone who gets paid a hundred million dollars a year to bounce a ball. Keep the political comments to yourselves. … Shut up and dribble.”
The following day, James issued a response in the form of a photo uploaded to his Instagram account that read, “I am more than an athlete” and included the hashtag “#wewillnotshutupanddribble.”
Some have criticized the Academy for awarding Bryant an Oscar. In 2003, Bryant was accused of rape. The criminal case was dropped after Bryant’s accuser refused to testify. The woman later filed a civil suit against him, which was settled out of court. Bryant admitted to an adulterous sexual encounter with his accuser, but denied the assault allegation.
James congratulated Bryant on Twitter for his Oscar win:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) March 5, 2018