As awe-inspiring as Kobe Bryant’s basketball career was, his ambitions for life away from the court were also compelling. Bryant wasn’t going to settle into a life of playing golf, doing occasional TV appearances, and signing autographs. He apparently had little interest in any sort of coaching or front-office role in basketball.
No, Kobe Bryant wanted to create. He wanted to tell stories. He aimed to make a mark in children’s and young adult books, television, and filmmaking.
Unfortunately, one project Bryant was working on apparently won’t be completed following his death.
Brazilian author Paulo Coelho, best known for fantasy novel The Alchemist, was collaborating with Bryant on a children’s book intended to “inspire underprivileged children to overcome adversity through sports.” However, following Bryant’s tragic passing, Coelho says he won’t finish the book and deleted the draft.
You were more than a great player, dear Kobe Bryant. I learned a lot by interacting with you. Will delete the draft right now, this book has lost its reason pic.twitter.com/pZWyT8xObw
— Paulo Coelho (@paulocoelho) January 26, 2020
Coelho, 72, told the Associated Press that the two of them began talking about doing a book together shortly after Bryant retired from the NBA. They began the writing process a few months ago. But Coelho now believes that continuing the book “wouldn’t add anything relevant to him or his family.” He didn’t reveal how much of the book had been written, nor if the project had a title.
Bryant was a big fan of The Alchemist and passed it along to several of his NBA peers. Kyrie Irving, LeBron James, Al Horford, and Andre Iguodala are among the many basketball stars who have expressed appreciation for the book in recent years.
Despite the disappointment of a book written with Coelho no longer happening, Bryant’s creative legacy has already been established and should continue to live on. He had already achieved impressive recognition in his new endeavors.
Dear Basketball, based on a poem he wrote for his retirement, won an Academy Award in 2018 for Best Animated Short. (A trailer for the film can be seen at dearbasketball.com.)
Bryant’s Granity Studios has also produced several sports-themed fantasy novels, including The Wizenard Series, which he described as “Harry Potter meets the Olympics,” and Legacy & The Queen, about a girl who must win a kingdom tennis championship to save an orphanage. Bryant also published a memoir, The Mamba Mentality, through his company.
Additionally, Granity produced the series Detail for ESPN+, which began with Bryant providing in-depth basketball analysis but expanded to a variety of sports with contributors including Peyton Manning, Nick Saban, Daniel Cormier, and Diana Taurasi.
As could be expected, Coelho’s announcement upset many fans who want to see Bryant’s creative legacy continue, in addition to new work from the celebrated author. Deleting a draft sounds like a definitive end for the book. Yet Coelho said that he may still write something inspired by his collaboration with Bryant and his “larger-than-life” personality.