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  • Kobe Bryant's Second Legacy: Stories That Encourage Kids to Believe in Themselves

    Following his Academy Award win, Kobe Byrant planned to share stories to inspire kids to pursue any kind of sports.
    by Rachel Perez .
Kobe Bryant's Second Legacy: Stories That Encourage Kids to Believe in Themselves
PHOTO BY @kobebryant/Instagram
  • The world grieved the loss of a basketball legend Kobe Byrant — the five-time NBA champion who had a 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers — perished on Sunday, January 26, (January 27 in Manila) in a helicopter crash. His daughter, Gianna, who would have carried his on-court legacy onward, was also on board the helicopter and died with him.

    But Kobe’s legacy isn’t just his much-decorated NBA career. His second path to greatness was referenced by former U.S. president Barack Obama of Kobe’s “meaningful second act” in his tweet when he learned of Kobe’s passing. It was through Granity Studios, a multimedia company he founded that aims to inspire the next generation of athletes.

    “The best way to inspire the next generation of athletes is through stories,” Kobe said in a post-screening question and answer for his animated short film, Dear Basketball, at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival.

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    Dear Basketball is Granity’s first shot at a short film, and it’s based on a poem by the former Lakers player when he decided to retire from basketball. It won the Best Animated Short film at the 2018 Academy Awards, a commendation Kobe shared with Glen Keane, who animated Disney films such as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, and Tarzan.

    “You can sit here and say things, say ‘you need to be devoted and work hard.’ But if you do it through stories, then it tends to sink in more,” the father of four added. Having daughters, Kobe knew too well that kids get tired of hearing their parents talk, so they need to hear about it through different platforms.

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    Kobe’s multimedia company shares sports stories to encourage children to believe in themselves.

    Kobe loved telling stories, and he had a passion for it, raising four daughters and with many other kids looking to him for inspiration.

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    While the focus of Granity Studios is telling stories about having a passion for any sport, Kobe also envisioned it to teach valuable life lessons to young kids. “The goal is to encourage children to develop their own inner magic and believe they can achieve the impossible and do so in a fun way,” he told Parade.

    Before Kobe’s untimely death, the multimedia company had plotted the release of several multimedia stories for the youth. Here’s a list of Granity Studios’ multimedia offerings so far:

    The Punies podcast

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    Fresh off Kobe’s Granity Studios first short and first Oscar win, it aired its first scripted podcast, The Punies, in August 2018. It’s about a group of neighborhood friends learning about life as they pursue different sports. The series features 15-minute fictional stories and playful original songs. A second season is already underway.

    The Wizenard Series

    After the success of his book, The Mamba Mentality: How I Play, which was released in October 2018, Kobe introduced The Wizenard Series last December 2018. The storytelling genius described it as “an entire universe that centers around sports... as if the Olympics and Harry Potter had a baby,” he told USA Today in January 2018.

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    The first book in that series, The Wizenard Series: Training Camp, was released last March 2019. The book follows a ragtag group of athletes and their mysterious coach who breaks down five individual players to build a team. It was created by Kobe and written by Wesley King.

    The next book, The Wizernard Series: Season One, centers on one of the players, Reggie, who dreams of basketball greatness. But the gym where he and his team trains and even their mysterious coach cannot seem to help them help break their losing streak. The book will be out on March 31, 2020.

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    Legacy and The Queen

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    In July 2019, Kobe’s Granity Studious published the young adult novel, Legacy and The Queen. It tells the story of a 12-year-old girl named Legacy, who is passionate about tennis. She’s trying to win tournaments in her kingdom to save an orphanage that looks after kids her age. Anne Matthew wrote it based on a story by the NBA star.

    Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof

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    Another story from Kobe is Epoca: The Tree of Ecrof, written by Ivy Claire. It tells a track-and-field story of two kids who come opposite worlds and meet at an elite sports school. They need to use their emotional magic, called “grana,” to work together and overcome evil. No release date has been announced for this book, only that it’s available for pre-order.

    Granity Studios plans each of Kobe’s stories to cut across platforms and develop them for an animated or live-action film, and even theater. More are stories from the five-time NBA champion’s mind in the pipeline. The world has not heard the last from him. His passion for sports lives through his stories.

    For more book suggestions for children, click here.

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