Kobe Bryant was as close to a replica of Michael Jordan that we’ve seen in the NBA. Both were dominant scorers, exciting in-game dunkers, fierce competitors, and shared the drive to be successful off the court.
If ESPN’s 10-part documentary The Last Dance continues down its successful path, could a similar series be created featuring the late Kobe Bryant? According to Lakers radio voice John Ireland, behind-the-scenes video footage of Kobe does exist.
“The last two years of Kobe’s career, we had a film crew following us everywhere, and when I say everywhere, I mean everywhere.” Ireland told co-host Steve Mason on their daily 710 ESPN LA radio show.
“Don’t you think if this Last Dance takes off the way it has started and is one of the most watched documentaries of all time, considering the tragic way that Kobe’s life ended, that it all has to come out one day?” he continued.
It took more than two decades to complete and release The Last Dance, so don’t expect a Bryant doc to be available anytime soon. But as time passes, the legend of the late Kobe Bryant, who died tragically earlier this year, will build and so will the desire for a documentary.
Ireland added that the video crew was working for film maker Gotham Chopra, who directed the 2015 documentary Kobe Bryant’s Muse. Chopra joined Mason and Ireland on ESPN LA the next day, confirming the behind the scenes content from Bryant’s last two seasons.
“There’s a lot of stuff that exists,” Chopra told Mason and Ireland. “Kobe was every bit the shrewd businessman that Michael was. The article that Ramona [Shelburne] published about the origins of The Last Dance, part of it was Michael controlled that footage with the NBA, of course. But neither party could do anything with it without the other party. Kobe made sure there was a level of control that he exercised.”
According to ESPN, the content was in the process of being edited, with Bryant providing feedback prior to his death. While Kobe is no longer with us, his estate lives on, so use of the all-access footage still needs his family’s consent.
The biggest difference between Bryant’s final two seasons and The Last Dance is the Lakers went 38-126 with Kobe playing in just 101 games, while Jordan’s Bulls remained dominant winning their third straight title. Bryant’s career did culminate with a 60-point performance in his final game, but the season will lack dramatic build up leading to that event.
Brandon Contes is a former reporter for BSM, now working for Awful Announcing. You can find him on Twitter @BrandonContes or reach him by email at Brandon.Contes@gmail.com.
FOX Will Use Chris Fallica On Belmont Stakes Coverage
“While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.”
The Bear will be more than just a college football presence when he moves to FOX. Chris Fallica wrapped his final duties for ESPN last week and is now headed to a new network and will tackle some new responsibilities.
Fallica’s new role at FOX will involve plenty of sports gambling content. Richard Deitsch of The Athletic reports that content will include horse racing.
“One Fox Sports source said look for him to appear on the Belmont Stakes coverage,” Deitsch wrote in his weekly media column.
Starting in 2023, horse racing’s Triple Crown will not be seen all in one place. While the Preakness and the Kentucky Derby remain at NBC, The Belmont Stakes is moving to FOX as part of the network’s deal with the New York Racing Association.
How the network intends to use Chris Fallica on the broadcast is not clear. Given that he is coming to the network to contribute to gambling conversations, it is likely he would either be making picks or at least reviewing odds right up to the start of the race.
NBCUniversal CEO Expects Disney To Buy Company’s Hulu Stake
“Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal.”
The Walt Disney Company owns 67% of Hulu. The other 33% is owned by NBCUniversal. The latter company doesn’t expect that to be the case forever.
“It’s worth a lot of money,” NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell said at an investor conference earlier this week, “and I think there’s no indication that anything else is going to happen than Disney writing us a big check.”
Hulu is primarily a platform for movies and television shows. It is a major part of Disney’s deal with the NHL though. The streaming giant is part of the package of 103 games that are exclusive to ESPN and ABC. Hulu is also a live TV provider for many. The company’s Hulu Plus Live TV package had over 4 million subscribers as of the summer of 2022.
Shell noted that live sports coverage is helping make the stake in Hulu a luxury for NBCUniversal. He credits sports and content migrated from Hulu as the reason Peacock has grown to 18 million paid subscriptions since September.
Deadline reports that if Disney does want to acquire NBCUniversal’s stake in Hulu, “the price could fluctuate but will be in the tens of billions of dollars.”
Greg Olsen Believes He and Kevin Burkhardt Can Handle Games ‘On Any Stage’
“Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.”
“If you’re asking me, I think Kevin and I have shown that we can handle a game on any stage – on any day. We just did it on Thanksgiving. We’ll do it again around Christmas. And obviously throughout the [NFL] Playoffs,” said Olsen. “So whatever decision they make. Obviously, the bosses get paid a lot to make hard decisions. You have to obviously do what your bosses decide. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.
“But as of now, I anticipate Kevin and I, the two of us, with Erin and Tom down on the sidelines, the four of us, broadcasting the Super Bowl in February in Arizona. Until I’m told otherwise, that’s how we’re proceeding.”
Olsen also told FOS he has negotiated a new contract with FOX Sports, but declined to share details. He is slated to be replaced on the top broadcast crew once Tom Brady ends his playing career. Brady will then begin a 10-year, $375 million contract to serve as the network’s top NFL game analyst and brand ambassador.