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Why Kobe Bryant hired John Williams to compose the score for 'Dear Basketball' / Los Angeles Times

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Just before the 2008 basketball season, Kobe Bryant, the 18-time NBA All-Star, called up John Williams, the five-time Oscar-winning composer, for some advice. "I asked myself a question," Bryant said. "What makes a John Williams piece timeless? How is he using each instrument? How is he building momentum? As a basketball player, what I found myself doing a lot was essentially conducting a game, right? I wanted to talk to him about how he composed music, and try to find something similar that I can then use to help my game as a leader and winning championships."

Williams was, understandably, surprised. "The first thing I told Kobe was, I'd never seen a basketball game," Williams said. "High school, college, professional, or television. And of course he laughed." The unlikely pair continued to see each other backstage at Williams' concerts over the years, and when Bryant decided to produce a short animated film based on his "Dear Basketball" letter - written for The Players' Tribune in 2015, when Bryant announced his retirement - he wanted one person to score it.   PHOTOS (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)  / GLEN KEANE

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