Oscars 2020: How Kobe Bryant Will Be Honored During the Academy's 'In Memoriam'

In the days since Kobe Bryant's untimely passing alongside eight other passengers in a helicopter crash, the 2020 Oscars on Feb. 9 will honor the late Los Angeles Lakers star in its telecast. Producers from the awards show confirmed the news on Wednesday that Bryant will be honored with the In Memoriam segment. Bryant was one of nine victims who died in a helicopter crash outside of Los Angeles on Jan. 26. His 13-year old daughter, Gianna, was also one of the victims.

"I think the In Memoriam segment has always been an important part of the show and this year is no different in that we're honoring all of our community that we've lost," producer Stephanie Allain said according to Entertainment Tonight. "I think what's really appropriate is that Kobe was part of the film community, and as such, he will be embraced within the In Memoriam segment."

Bryant had a connection to the Oscars after earning his first Oscar winner. In 2018, Bryant won the Academy Award for his animated short film, Dear Basketball. He became the first professional athlete to win an Oscar.

"I don't know if it's possible. I mean, as basketball players we're really supposed to shut up and dribble but I'm glad we do a little bit more than that," Bryant said as he accepted the award according to USA Today.

"Thank you, Academy, for this amazing honor. Thank you, John Williams, for such a wonderful piece of music. Thank you, Verizon, for believing in the film. Thank you, Molly Carter, without you we wouldn't be here. And to my wife Vanessa, our daughters Natalia, Gianna, and Bianka. Ti amo con tutto il mio cuore [I love you with all my heart]. You are my inspiration. Thank you so much, guys, thank you."

Before the Oscars that year, Bryant talked to The Undefeated about why the nomination was big for him and athletes in the future.

"I've always been told that as basketball players the expectation is that you play," he said. "This is all you know. This is all you do. Don't think about handling finances. Don't think about going into business. Don't think that you want to be a writer — that's cute. I got that a lot. What do you want to do when you retire? 'Well, I want to be a storyteller.' That's cute. This is … a form of validation for people to look and say, 'OK, he really can do something other than dribble and shoot.'"

During the 2020 Oscars Nominees Luncheon last week, a moment of silence was held for Bryant. The Academy also shared an Instagram photo of Bryant proudly posing with his Oscar.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by The Academy (@theacademy) on

0comments

"They doubted a kid could make it in the NBA and he proved them wrong," the caption reads. "They doubted he could win a championship and he proved them wrong. They doubted he could make movies and he won an Oscar. Like all great artists, Kobe Bryant proved the doubters wrong. Rest in peace."

The Oscars air Sunday, Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.