Any fans of the Los Angeles Lakers worried that with Magic Johnson leaving ESPN’s NBA Countdown to ascend to his position as Lakers president of basketball operations would leave the show with a dearth of purple and gold icons can breathe easy.
Kobe Bryant made his in-studio debut on the show Sunday, and he brought his own video of himself talking to a snake puppet.
Dubbed "Canvas City: Musecage,” the video was the second one Bryant has done for ESPN this season as part of a six-video deal he struck with the network, and featured Bryant speaking with a small snake puppet named “Little Mamba” about how to use criticism to fuel greatness, an animated musical number with a train and the original voice of Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” narrating what was essentially a higher production value Laker Film Room breakdown.
The whole thing begs to be watched, and you can check out the first half of the video at this link or watch the second half below:
And after Kobe taught Little Mamba about how to use his “Dark Musecage” and showed him video of how Russell Westbrook and James Harden dominate, the little snake was ready to go:
What the hell are we doing here ESPN pic.twitter.com/10SHUqOrIv— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) March 26, 2017
Bryant outlined the process behind the video to Baxter Holmes of ESPN in an incredibly detailed piece, and among other things explained why he felt compelled to make a video targeted at kids:
"Sometimes it gets a little redundant to be the one always telling your kids, 'This is what you do, this is how you shoot, this is how should think about this or that,'" Bryant says. "So I said, it would be awesome just to create a show. If I had a show that my kids could watch and learn how to better their best, what would that show entail? It would entail songs. It would entail animation, puppetry, comedy and a lot of visual representations of things they should be learning."
The day also featured Bryant speaking in studio to the man most qualified to speak to Bryant’s greatness/81-point victim Jalen Rose:
Kobe Bryant and Jalen Rose talk about that 81 point game a litttttle bit— Def Pen Hoops (@DefPenHoops) March 26, 2017
As always, the internet had jokes:
“Kobe, why are you doing the ‘Hang 10’ hand gestures?”— Zach Harper (@talkhoops) March 26, 2017
“It’s nicer than hanging 81, isn’t it?" pic.twitter.com/gm8mW3VLqj
*texting*— Laker Film Room (@LakerFilmRoom) March 26, 2017
911 PLZ SEND HELP THIS MAN ABOUT TO LIGHT ME UP AGAIN pic.twitter.com/lJWjwqfdbR
All sarcasm aside, Bryant’s post-career storytelling ambition has been pretty awesome to watch, and the next video in his series should be worth checking out too. Maybe he and Jalen can narrate the 81-point game highlights to Little Mamba.
Harrison Faigen is co-host of the Locked on Lakers podcast (subscribe here), and you can follow him on Twitter at @hmfaigen.