Watch Kobe Bryant Perform Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata"

While Kobe Bryant was a complicated figure during his athletic prime, as his playing career drew to a close, the basketball icon made it clear that he intended to stretch his wings in retirement.

Much like fellow Los Angeles Lakers legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar before him, Kobe was intent on pursuing interests beyond basketball and outside the typical scope of a retired athlete — a fact that makes his tragic death Sunday all the more devastating.

Already a bit of a renaissance man as NBA players go due to his international upbringing, Kobe often gave interviews in Spanish and Italian and could reportedly get by just fine in several other foreign languages.

In 2016, the 18-time all-star turned his attention to the language of music and reportedly learned to play piano by ear, as a gift for his wife Vanessa. Kobe explained to The Undefeated in a 2016 profile, that he learned by ear because having a teacher would take the challenge out of it.

"If you just sit down and say, 'I'm going to learn this thing until I do,'" he said, "there's not really much out there that you can't figure out eventually."

You can watch video of Kobe performing the sonata with a string quartet in the video above.

Piano was just one of many challenges the father of four took on in retirement. In 2018, Kobe won an Academy Award for his animated short film, Dear Basketball.

Photo: Getty Images

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