ESPN’s The Last Dance, a ten-part documentary series chronicling Michael Jordan’s rise in basketball up until his last season with the Chicago Bulls, has drawn millions of viewers across the country, in large part to fill the void left by the cancelation of live sports due to the coronavirus pandemic. Turns out, there could be more to come.
According to ESPN’s Baxter Holmes, an all-access film crew also followed Kobe Bryant and the Lakers during the 2015-16 season – the Black Mamba’s last in the NBA. The report claims Bryant’s camera crew, as well as several Lakers staffers from that season, said the crew had unparalleled access in locker rooms both at home and on the road, throughout the team’s practice facility and even on the Lakers’ charter plane.
“They had unprecedented and, by far, greater access than anyone else ever,” said John Black, who led the Lakers’ public relations department for 27 years. “We certainly allowed them to do everything we could within what the league would allow, and sometimes, with a wink and look-the-other-way, allowed them even more.”
And while fans may be excited for a potential documentary series, they may have to wait a while.
According to the sports news media outlet, “Sources close to the matter told ESPN that the footage had been in the editing stages for a potential documentary to be released years from now — thought it is unclear when exactly that would be — and that Bryant had seen edited material and provided feedback in the months leading up to his death. It is unlikely those plans have changed, the sources said.”
The report also says that Kobe commissioned the crew and controlled the rights and access because he was looking to build his own media empire after retiring from the NBA.