Like Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant allowed a camera crew to film his final NBA season with the Los Angeles Lakers.
"They had unprecedented and, by far, greater access than anyone else ever,"John Black, who led the Lakers' public relations department for 27 years, told ESPN of the NBA Entertainment film crew, who followed Kobe's life on-and-off the court for his final 2016 season. "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."
Sources told the outlet that the footage is still in the editing stages for a potential documentary to be released years from now — no exact date was given — and that Kobe had seen edited material and provided feedback in the months leading up to his death on January 26. "It is unlikely those plans have changed," the insider said.
Kobe — who was the subject of a 2015 documentary about his life titled Kobe Bryant's Muse, which he also produced — reportedly wanted control over the footage, which is why he decided it was best to have his own camera crew take on such a project, because he was working to build his own post-NBA media empire.
After retiring from basketball, Kobe established the production company Granity Studios. The company was behind his Academy Award-winning short film Dear Basketball,which was based on Kobe's retirement letter originally published in the Players' Tribune.