Kobe Bryant is still the most Hollywood of hoop stars, even with LeBron James having moved to LA with his Lakers championship dreams and his plans to remake Space Jam. Kobe was the Lakers biggest and most stylish star for two decades, and his star has hardly dimmed since his retirement from the NBA in 2016. Part of Kobe’s Hollywood glam appeal has always been that he simply fit in with the glitterati, while also standing out. And Kobe, despite his ferocious dedication to excellence in basketball, always considered himself more than a basketball player. (Just the way actors all seem to want to direct!)
At this year’s Oscars, Kobe got attention for a couple of reasons. One, his memorable hug of Caitlyn Jenner, the groundbreaking trans woman and former star athlete who has always counted Kobe as a major supporter. TMZ, which knows what people like to see, captured the hug in an exclusive pic, albeit from a distance. But what interested Kobe fans even more than the Jenner hug was just how pregnant and luminous Kobe’s wife Vanessa looked on Oscar night. The Bryants are expecting their fourth child.
Kobe and Vanessa been through some difficult times but have emerged intact and happy, something most famous Hollywood couples can’t say. Another thing most Hollywood people can’t say, even some of the biggest stars? Most can’t say they have an Oscar — but Kobe Bryant can. He won an Oscar for Best Animated Short Film in 2018 with his movie “Dear Basketball.” Bryant wrote and produced the film.