Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal may both be retired from the NBA, but their rivalry doesn’t seem to be over yet.
Bryant turned heads last year when he walked away with a best animated short Academy Award for the autobiographical Dear Basketball. This year, a Shaq-produced film could be a contender in the Oscar race as well.
The Lakers legend co-produced Killer Bees, a documentary that looks at the Bridehampton High School basketball team, a mostly black squad, nicknamed the “Killer Bees” that faced racism and gentrification as they defended their 2015 state title. Killer Bees has been screened on both coasts, making it eligible for the award. The film will hold a special screening this week in Hollywood for members of the Academy’s documentary arm.
O’Neal has dabbled in film production since retiring from the NBA in 2011, but none of his films have gained a lot of traction. He has also become a marketing machine, acting as spokesman for everything from Buick to General Insurance to Monster Cable. He’s a regular on TNT as a commentator. He owns a Krispy Kreme store in Atlanta. And, earlier this year, he helped reprise (via voice acting) his role as a martial arts master in the video game Shaq Fu 2.
Bryant may have the upper hand in this phase of the rivalry, though. In 2016, before retiring, he sought the advice of Steven Spielberg on what to do when his career in the NBA came to a close.
Presumably among that advice? Avoid any films named Kazaam.