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Kobe Bryant’s film crew had ‘unprecedented’ access to Lakers during his final season

Lakers great Kobe Bryant

LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 13: Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts before taking on the Utah Jazz at Staples Center on April 13, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

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Kobe Bryant followed in Michael Jordan’s footsteps more closely than anyone else.

ESPN is televising a documentary on Jordan’s final season with the Bulls.

Could we get a documentary on Bryant’s final season with the Lakers?

Bryant hired a film crew to track him in 2015-16.

The first two episodes of “The Last Dance” didn’t reveal much new. But future episodes will include more behind-the-scenes footage of the 1997-98 Bulls.

Likewise, a show about Bryant’s last season would hold a similar selling point.

Baxter Holmes of ESPN:

Bryant’s camera crew, several Lakers staffers from that season said, had unparalleled access in locker rooms both at home and on the road, in the training room, throughout the team’s practice facility and even on the team’s 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, last serving as vice president. “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.”


Would a documentary on Bryant’s last season be interesting? Probably. Bryant was a great player with a large and loyal following, and backstage access of any NBA team can be fascinating.

But Bryant was mostly washed up (save for his magical sendoff) and the Lakers were lousy. This isn’t chronicling the Kobe-Shaq years or even Bryant’s second title-winning stage.

The Bulls – with Jordan and fellow Hall of Famers Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Phil Jackson – were still chasing a championship in 1997-98. There was far more drama in that season. There is no comparison on the stakes.

The most interesting part of that Lakers season didn’t even involve Bryant. If there’s compelling footage of D’Angelo Russell and Nick Young, though, this would be a must-watch.