The release of “The Last Dance” spurred an ESPN report last week that Kobe Bryant allowed similar access to a film crew during his last season in the NBA in 2015-16. Not only has the footage already gone through some editing, but Bryant himself took part in the process and provided feedback.
The report indicated that the plans to complete the film are likely to continue, and in an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Magic Johnson echoed that sentiment:
“That’s definitely going to happen,” Johnson said when asked about a possible Bryant documentary. “I think he was smart enough to have a camera follow him, document every movement. We’re going to see a lot of behind-the-scenes things on Kobe. He’ll probably let us into his world with his family.”
The tone of the film will likely change from its original conception, but it’s nice to know that there are plans for the footage to see the light of day. Bryant’s final season represented his transformation from the vicious Black Mamba to someone at ease with what he had accomplished, willing to give back to the NBA community that nurtured him in his younger days.
Those younger days will be on display in this week’s airing of “The Last Dance”, as one episode promises to feature the relationship between Bryant and Michael Jordan, a bond that was deeper than most people realized before Jordan’s heartbreaking speech at the memorial for Bryant and his daughter.
The Kobe documentary isn’t the only one Lakers fans have to look forward to. Johnson announced that a film about his life is in the works as well.
“First, we got Michael Jordan, ‘The Last Dance.’ Then, we’ll have Kobe and his doc. And then the Magic man is coming out with his after that,” Johnson said. “That’s right, I’m coming after Kobe’s. I’m announcing here first.”
Parts of Johnson’s life have been shown on film before, including the 30 for 30 documentary “The Announcement”, which centers around the press conference when Johnson told the world that he was HIV-positive. Johnson also features prominently in another 30 for 30 film: “Celtics/Lakers - Best of Enemies”.
The tale that really needs to be told about Johnson is what happened during his tenure as Lakers president of basketball operations, specifically the day he decided to quit. Only that story would be able to potentially rival whatever Bryant’s documentary promises to bring. The man was a storyteller, and this film will have to live up to that billing.