COSTA MESA, Calif. – In a previous life, Kobe Bryant cared about specific hardware.

He had spent 20 years in a Los Angeles Lakers jersey collecting five NBA championship trophies, two Finals MVPs and one-regular season MVP.  When he sat in a room of his production studio recently, though, Bryant turned his head toward something he considered more meaningful. He stared at the Oscar, Sports Emmy and Annie Award that he won for his short film, “Dear Basketball“.

“They’re at the top for me,” Bryant said in a wide-ranging interview with USA TODAY Sports. “It’s not something that was expected. As a kid, you kind of have the goal of winning championships and all these sorts of things. Being in the industry that I’m in now? It wasn’t something that was thought of me winning an Oscar.”

What was expected? Consider what Bryant experienced on his farewell tour during his final season with the Lakers in 2015-16. Teammates, team officials and opponents did not just shower Bryant with praise. Some of them also shared their misgivings.


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