There’s a good chance that you and Kobe Bryant share a source of inspiration – assuming one of your favorite movies is Star Wars. Or any of the Indiana Jones films. Or Superman (the original, good one). Or E.T. Or Jaws. Or Jurassic Park. Or Harry Potter (any of them). Or … well, or any of the number of blockbuster movies scored by legendary composer John Williams.
Earlier this summer, Williams was honored with the American Film Institute’s Lifetime Achievement award in a ceremony that will air later this week. The man behind the music was honored by Hollywood luminaries such as Stephen Spielberg and George Lucas ? and by Kobe, who credited Williams for inspiring his career.
“December, 2013. I was coming back to the Lakers from an injury. And the music I chose to bring me back onto the court at Staples Center was the Imperial March from Star Wars.”
Why? Because I needed John Williams to inspire me that day. The Black Mamba was back. And the Imperial March put me into character. And that?s a villain ready for an epic battle.
“I?m a passionate believer that everybody needs a muse, and John Williams is one of mine. In 2009, I asked him to meet with me. I needed to understand how he created timeless music ? that was timeless because of his complex compositions told simple stories that captured the magic within all of us. John?s music achieved a level of perfection that I wanted to replicate on the basketball court. If I could understand how John did it, maybe, just maybe I could do it too.
“John was a catalyst for me to search, learn, and be inspired. And so, it?s much more than the movies. Consider the Olympic fanfare that John wrote for the Olympics in 1984 that continues to echo around the world to this day. Every time I hear it, it reminds me of being on one of those America teams that brought home two Olympic gold medals: Beijing and London.
I want to thank you John, for everything you have done for me, and everything you have done for all of us. Congratulations on being the AFI MVP. You?re the greatest.”
It might seem like Kobe’s laying it on a little thick, but his appreciation for Williams is 100 percent genuine. The two are partnering to work on an animated film (you know, because Kobe’s a storyteller now that his career is over), for one thing. And while we don’t have evidence of Kobe’s meeting with Williams in 2009, there is this photo from 2011:
So we guess Kobe’s not exaggerating when he calls Williams one of the greatest. It’s just too bad the Imperial March wasn’t able to keep the Black Mamba healthy.