Kobe Bryant: Oscar Makes Me Feel a ‘Greater Sense of Responsibility’ to Bring Diversity to Hollywood

“How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry?” NBA star says

Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant says that his Oscars win last weekend has given him a greater sense of “responsibility.”

“How do I carry this night beyond this night?” Bryant said to Jimmy Kimmel on Thursday night’s broadcast.

“Now there’s a greater sense of responsibility. How do I provide more opportunities for even more diverse and new voices to be heard in this industry?” he said. “In the animation business, there’s a serious lack of diversity.”

Neither Kimmel nor Bryant addressed the backlash that sprouted up after the basketball player’s Academy Award win for Best Animated Short Film for his “Dear Basketball.” During and following the show’s telecast, several people on social media brought up the sexual assault case against Bryant from years ago.

When Bryant was 24, he was accused by a 19-year-old hotel employee of sexual assault in Colorado. He was arrested on a felony charge at the time, but because his accuser was unwilling to testify, the case was eventually dropped.

“Although I truly believe this encounter between us was consensual, I recognize now that she did not and does not view this incident the same way I did,” Bryant said at the time, after the charges were dropped. “After months of reviewing discovery, listening to her attorney, and even her testimony in person, I now understand how she feels that she did not consent to this encounter.” He later settled a civil suit filed by his accuser out of court.

Watch the full clip above.