NBA star Kobe Bryant wins Oscar for best animated short

Kobe Bryant and Vanessa Laine Bryant arrive at the ceremony. (Reuters)
Updated 05 March 2018
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NBA star Kobe Bryant wins Oscar for best animated short

HOLLYWOOD: Retired basketball superstar Kobe Bryant — once the toast of Los Angeles for the Lakers — is now a Hollywood A-lister with an Oscar.
Yes, you read that correctly.
Nearly two years after leaving the NBA, the 39-year-old Bryant won the Academy Award for best animated short on Sunday for “Dear Basketball,” a collaboration with artist Glen Keane and legendary composer John Williams.
“Thank you, Academy, for this amazing honor. Thank you, John Williams, for a wonderful piece of music,” Bryant said.
In a sardonic reference to an attack by Fox News presenter Laura Ingraham against basketballers expressing their political opinions, he said he thought NBA stars were “really supposed to shut up and dribble.”
“I’m glad we do a little bit more than that,” he added.
Awards prediction website Gold Derby had Bryant as the odds-on favorite to win the Oscar for best animated short, but his triumph is unlikely to please everyone.
In the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, it will be a reminder that Bryant was arrested over the suspected rape of a 19-year-old hotel worker in Colorado in 2003.
Bryant admitted to a sexual encounter, but insisted it was consensual. The criminal case was dropped when the accuser refused to testify, but Bryant faced a civil suit.
As part of an out-of-court settlement, he publicly apologized to his accuser, but admitted no guilt.


Star-studded Abu Dhabi gala to raise funds for refugees

Mona Zaki at an event earlier this year. (AFP)
Updated 18 min 46 sec ago
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Star-studded Abu Dhabi gala to raise funds for refugees

DUBAI: A new gala in the UAE is set to raise funds for refugee children in Jordan.

The first edition of the Abu Dhabi Dream Ball will take place at the Emirates Palace hotel on Jan. 31 and will aim to help 5,000 vulnerable children in Jordan.

The inaugural event will see 500 VIP guests including members of royal families, prominent UAE dignitaries, entertainment stars and celebrities including the actress-Unicef Ambassador Mona Zaki, while Lebanese TV host Raya Abirached is slated to host the event.

The event will feature performances by Lebanese-Armenian pianist Guy Manoukian and Emirati singer Fayez Al-Saeed among others.

“We decided upon the name ‘Dream Ball’ because we wanted our guests to be emotionally connected to our cause. As children we all had dreams, these may have been unrealistic such as wanting to fly a rocket to the moon, but regardless they were often indulged and encouraged by our parents. The children whose lives we are touching have much simpler ambitions, they want to have access to basic education and feel protected,” Nadine Maalouf, co-chair of Sawtouna, the philanthropic entity behind the event, said.