The NBA lost a basketball legend this week. Kobe Bryant, 41, was in a fatal helicopter crash yesterday morning in Calabasas, California. His daughter, Gianna, was also lost in the crash as well as seven other passengers.
As we honor and remember Kobe’s life and his accomplishments, we wanted to take a moment to appreciate his role in the animation industry. Bryant was the executive producer of the hand-drawn animated short, Dear Basketball, a farewell letter to basketball after a 20-season professional career with the Los Angeles Lakers.


The 5-minute and 22 second short won the Oscar and Annie for Best Animated Short in 2018. This made Bryant the first African-American filmmaker to win an Oscar in the animated short category. In the short Kobe says he will always be that kid with roll-up socks, garbage can in the corner, and ball in his hands. Rest in peace Kobe.

If you have not seen the short, you can check out the trailer at

“Dear Basketball” wins Oscar for Best Animated Short Film

Glen Keane who directed “Dear Basketball” wrote: Our hearts and prayers go out to Vanessa and her family. Kobe and Gianna were the most beautiful picture of a father’s love for his daughter. We were so honored to work with Kobe and even from time to time be surrounded by his wonderful family while making “Dear Basketball”.

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The Author

Lavalle Lee

Lavalle Lee

Lavalle Lee has been creating animated cartoons online since 1999/2000 for his website Many cartoons on the site have gained viral video status reaching millions of viewers online. In 2009, Lavalle started learning hand drawn animation from Don Bluth in his animation classes, as well as attending his Masterclasses in Arizona. He has also personally studied animation and visual effects from Veteran Disney animators in Orlando, FL.

Lavalle is widely known in the animation industry as the creator of the website. After seeing that most animation sites were about all types of animation, not any specific to classical hand drawn animation, Lavalle knew Traditional Animation needed to be represented online. has become the leading website and social media account for all things 2D. The website served as inspiration for “The Traditional Animation Show” in which Lavalle was both producer and host.

His partnership with Don Bluth began when he championed the Dragon's Lair Indiegogo campaign as lead project manager, editor, voice actor and in-betweener. The campaign reached $730,000 dollars to produce a 7-minute pitch video. In 2017, Lavalle brought the idea of creating a school to Don Bluth, and Don Bluth University was born. After a decade of learning from Don Bluth and working together on multiple pitches and business ventures, Lavalle accepted the position as Vice President of Don Bluth's new company Don Bluth Studios.

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