BY TOM WITHERS
INDEPENDENCE, Ohio (AP) — LeBron James watched Kobe Bryant score big again.
But he’s focused on a different shiny trophy than the one his former rival snagged Sunday night.
James joined Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal and other current and former NBA players to congratulate Bryant after the Los Angeles Lakers superstar won an Academy Award in the animated short film category.
Holding his Oscar, Bryant later said, “I feel better than winning a championship, to be honest with you. I swear I do.”
On Monday, James said he watched Bryant’s film, “Dear Basketball,” which was based on a poem the five-time champion wrote in 2015 in advance of his retirement from playing, the night it debuted.
“It was phenomenal,” James said.
But while he and Bryant had a fierce on-court rivalry, James, who won acclaim for a supporting role in the comedy “Trainwreck” and owns a film production company, said he isn’t driven to match Bryant’s Hollywood haul.
“Nah, it’s never been one of my goals,” he said of winning an Oscar. “But now that I’m in a movie and film and TV business and doing so many things, if at some point we can be nominated and win the Oscar, that would be something that I never thought that would happen for sure. We’ve got some things in the works, so we’ll see what happens.”
James has served an executive producer for several TV series and his company is working on documentary about Muhammad Ali. He’s also planning a sequel to “Space Jam,” which starred Michael Jordan.
During his acceptance speech, Bryant took a swipe at conservative commentator Laura Ingraham, who recently lectured James and Kevin Durant after they were critical of President Trump.
“As basketball players we’re supposed to shut up and dribble,” Bryant said. “I’m glad we do a little but more than that.”
James acknowledged Bryant’s line on Twitter, posting: #WeAreMoreThanShutUpDribble.
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