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Could Last Dance Sequel Feature Kobe Bryant?

“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.”

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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.

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Poll Data Shows Tepid Response To Tom Brady Joining FOX

“A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.”

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FOX Sports reportedly signed Tom Brady to a 10-year deal worth $375 million to make the seven-time Super Bowl champion the new lead analyst for its top NFL broadcast once his playing career is over.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Front Office Sports showed that 1 in 3 Americans are more likely to watch a game with Brady on the microphone.

The poll said 2 in 5 NFL fans have a better opinion of FOX Sports following the deal, with 41% of NFL fans being at least somewhat more likely to watch a game with Brady as an analyst.

Data shows one-third of NFL fans think the deal Brady reportedly agreed to is worth about the same as its reported value.

That reaction could probably be described as “tepid”. That may be exactly what FOX expects and maybe all it wants.

Last week, Domonique Foxworth of ESPN suggested that the paycheck is less about what the network thinks Tom Brady means to viewers and more about showing the NFL that the network values its product.

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FOX Not Interested In Joining Streaming Sports Wars

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take?”

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The CEO of FOX doesn’t plan on forking over billions of dollars to be people’s last choice for paid streaming services.

Lachlan Murdoch said at a time when more than 80% of American homes already have some kind of paid streaming service, it’s not worthwhile to jump on that train.

Amazon, Netflix and Disney+ typically account for the average streaming presence in a household.

“All this fight that’s going on, sort of gladiatorial kind of bloodshed, is really for that last position, right, in the three to four services that people will take,” Murdoch said at a tech conference earlier this year. “And so the billions of dollars that’s being spent by multiple aspirants is all for that last position. And so we are extraordinarily — I want to say that — we’re happy to be sort of sitting on the sidelines.”

Murdoch told Benjamin Swinburne that when it comes to the NFL, FOX’s media rights are the same as CBS, NBC and ESPN. The main focus for the company remains on keeping games on TV.

“We don’t believe it helps us to put those rights under a streaming service or free on over-the-air. We think it’s very important that those rights remain exclusive to the broadcast environment,” Murdoch said.

FOX does stream games through its app, but it is only the games it is also carrying on its broadcast network or FS1.

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NBA Draft To Get Simulcast From ESPN & ABC

“This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.”

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ESPN is set for the 2022 NBA Draft coming up on June 23 at 8 p.m. from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The network announced Wednesday the crews that will handle coverage on both ESPN and ABC.

ABC will broadcast the first round in primetime. Kevin Negandhi will host and will be joined by Stephen A. Smith, Chiney Ogwumike and Jalen Rose. Monica McNutt will be reporting and interviewing draftees.

This follows the simulcast model ESPN and ABC have employed for several years with the NFL Draft.

Malika Andrews will host both rounds for ESPN. Jay Bilas, Kendrick Perkins and Adrian Wojnarowski will share the set. Analysts Bobby Marks and Mike Schmitz will contribute.

“We’re thrilled that Malika Andrews will host this year’s ESPN presentation as she brings her well-documented, widespread skillset to our main set,” said David Roberts, head of NBA and Studio Production for ESPN. “The event will showcase the scope and depth of our NBA and college basketball talent roster with accomplished journalists and high-profile personalities across ESPN, ABC and ESPN Radio.”

ESPN will air a pre-draft red carpet show hosted by Cassidy Hubbarth from 5-6 p.m. Perkins and Richard Jefferson will also make appearances.

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