Kobe Bryant had been looking into working on animation before his passing, according to the creator of The Proud Family.

Some may have been surprised to see those behind the short Hair Love paying tribute to the deceased star during the Academy Awards, but Bruce W Smith has revealed that Kobe was preparing to work on another dream.

He said: ‘Kobe was heavily invested, at the time, in starting an animation studio. So for the past six months or so, Kobe and I had been in deep talks about making that happen.’

After his retirement from the NBA, Smith said that the new venture would have been part of Bryant’s next chapter in life. He has spoken of his feelings following the athlete’s death, saying: ‘It is still completely unbelievable. Like I still have not completely wrapped my head around the fact that Kobe’s not here. Totally heartbreaking.’

When accepting their trophy for Hair Love, Matthew A Cherry said: ‘This award is dedicated to Kobe Bryant. May we all have a second act as great as his was.’

The ceremony also saw Bryant honoured during the In Memoriam segment, with a focus on his Oscar victory which had taken place a few years previously.

In his speech, he said: ‘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.’

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