Kobe Bryant Reveals Injury Spurred Him to Do Showtime Doc 'Kobe Bryant's Muse'
"He promised to really go deep and really share himself in ways you're really not expecting from this. He exceeded my expectations," says network president David Nevins.
The fashionable decor of The London West Hollywood hotel was the backdrop for the premiere Thursday night of the new Showtime documentary Kobe Bryant's Muse. The doc focuses on the basketball star's early life in Italy, prolific career in the NBA and the off-the-court drama that marks the life of Kobe Bryant, one of the most accomplished and influential athletes of the past 20 years.
Among those who walked the red carpet were Bryant's former Los Angeles Lakers teammate Rick Fox, Muse director Gotham Chopra, fashion mogul Christian Louboutin, Showtime president David Nevins and Bryant himself.
The film comes at a somewhat unconventional time for a retrospective look on the career of an athlete, as Bryant, 36, though out for the remainder of the season with a recent shoulder injury, still is a member of the Lakers.
After suffering a season-ending Achilles tendon injury in April 2013, Bryant said he contacted Chopra to begin work on the film.
"Just by default, the injury happened … and I said, 'Let's go for it,' " Bryant said of the project's conception, adding with a laugh, "Honestly, the Achilles injury gave me a lot of time to work on it."
Nevins told THR: "He was ready to do it. He promised to really go deep and really share himself in ways you're really not expecting from this. He exceeded my expectations."
Much of Muse intermixes Bryant's recovery process from the Achilles surgery and his own personal monologues, showing a side of the athlete the public typically doesn't see.
"I think most people associate Kobe with this incredible self-confidence and almost arrogance and cockiness," Chopra said on the red carpet. "He's deserved that on the court, but off the court there's a humility, there's a curiosity, he wants to understand businesspeople, artists and innovators."
The athlete, famous for his reclusive and guarded attitude about his personal life, hopes the film will be influential to his fans. "I think if you can tell the story about those that are going about things in a different way and think about their craft a different way, then you can help inspire others," said Bryant.
If he stays on pace with recovery for the recent shoulder surgery, Bryant will be 37 when he makes his return to the basketball court next season. The 17-time All-Star's reign in the NBA is beginning to wind down, but those around him believe he'll make a smooth transition into life after basketball.
"I could see him being a storyteller and behind the scenes producing content that way. … This is a good start," said onetime teammate Fox about Bryant's future.
Further involvement in the industry could be the next step for Bryant. When asked whether he intended to continue with a series of Muse documentaries for Showtime, Bryant answered with an emphatic "Absolutely!"
Kobe Bryant's Muse airs at 9 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 28, on Showtime.