2020 hasn’t contained many happy moments so far, but on Wednesday night, the Los Angeles Lakers gave us a small reason to smile. The team announced on Twitter that its late star, Kobe Bryant, was being honored for his philanthropic efforts in the community with the Governors Award from the Los Angeles Area Emmys:
Kobe Bryant is this year's recipient of the Los Angeles Area Emmy Governors Award in honor of his “philanthropy, community building and inspiration that extended beyond the basketball court." pic.twitter.com/odA7ls2MM2— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) June 11, 2020
What exactly does that award signify? Allie Clifton of Spectrum SportsNet provided some details:
“The Los Angeles area Television Academy has named Kobe the recipient of this year’s Governors Award. It’s presented to an individual or organization that has made an outstanding, innovative and visionary achievement in the arts, sciences or management of television, as well as a substantial contribution to the Southland community.
“Bryant’s Granity Studios produced the Oscar award-winning film ‘Dear Basketball’ and has developed shows for TV, podcasts and books. Some past winners of the Governors Award included Chick Hearn, Vin Scully, Bob Miller and longtime Lakers TV producer Susan Stratton.
“The 72nd L.A. area Emmy Awards will be presented on Saturday, July 18. It can be streamed on Emmys.com.”
Bryant was perhaps most known — from a charitable perspective — for his work with Los Angeles’ homeless community, something he began doing around 2012 and continued for the rest of his life. He also was a huge supporter and advocate for women’s basketball at all levels, leading the WNBA to recently create the “Kobe & Gigi Bryant WNBA Advocacy Award” to posthumously honor Bryant and his late daughter, Gianna, and recognize their impact on and support of the women’s game.
On the entertainment side, Bryant fought for his podcasts to be substantial, to teach kids lessons, and he’d spoken in the past about the importance of his stories including a diverse cast so that every kid — kids like his biracial daughters — could see characters that looked like them in the entertainment they consumed.
Bryant will always be most remembered for his achievements on the court and the way they inspired people off of it. But it’s his charitable side that Bryant’s longtime teammate, Pau Gasol, says he wants his friend to be remembered for. Thanks in part to honors like this, no one will be forgetting Bryant’s impact outside of basketball arenas anytime soon, and it’s hard not to feel like — given his post-career commitment to storytelling — that he wouldn’t have been just as jazzed up about this honor as he was about any basketball award he’d ever received.