It’s Oscar week. We should be celebrating the amazing achievements in film that have come up in the past year. I should be giving some last minute advice on your office Oscar ballot.
Frankly, it would feel a little inappropriate for me to simply move on to the next piece of movie business without acknowledging that an Oscar winner, and a high-profile one at that, is missing.
I can’t help but feel like we hadn’t seen the best film of Kobe Bryant’s career quite yet. “Dear Basketball” is a wonderful piece of work that allowed Kobe to secure one of the most unlikely Oscar wins in history, but it strikes me more as a launching pad than the undisputed career peak. One of the real tragedies of Kobe’s harsh, untimely passing is that he had so much more to give the film industry.
Because of that, it feels like we lost a budding star in some ways. There was so much untappped storytelling potential and passion still on the horizon. The fact that he had more to give the art form adds an additional layer of bitterness to an already horrible scenario.
I thought I would be tough when the news released of Kobe’s passing. And I was, until I went back and watched his Oscar speech. In that speech, he paraphrased the now infamous line that athletes should “shut up and dribble.” He shunned that thinking, offering up the image of an athlete who matches incredible physical gifts with a nurtured intellect and a fire for storytelling. As I listened to him speak with such a glow of simple enlightenment, I broke.
Kobe won’t be making his way back to the Oscars, but his storytelling prowess should serve as a example for anyone looking to share their experience. It will never not be tragically sad that this particular hero is gone, but the duty is on the rest of us now to pick up the torch that’s been left behind and be honest and passionate about all that we choose to do.
Sam Zavada is a copy editor with The Standard-Speaker in Hazleton. He previously served as the news clerk at The Standard-Speaker, working with the obituaries and the community and lifestyle pages. Sam’s work in print dates back to his time at King’s College, where he spent two years as the editor in chief of the school’s newspaper, The Crown. Earlier in his time with The Crown, he worked as a staff writer and the entertainment manager. Contact him at email@example.com.