So if one of the more renown directors of your day (Spike Lee, specifically) wanted to create a documentary about you, you’d probably be flattered by the gesture, be accommodating in every way, and trust in his vision of telling your story. But then, you’re not Kobe Bryant.
Lee had worked for months to get permission from Bryant, the Lakers team, coach Phil Jackson, the NBA and ESPN, which will air the day-in-the-life documentary on May 16. The director had already flown to Los Angeles, where 30 cameras were in place for the April 13, 2008, Lakers game against the San Antonio Spurs.
But suddenly Bryant said he wouldn’t cooperate unless he was granted creative control, sources said. Lee tried several times to call Bryant, who wouldn’t accept his calls. So Lee, at the suggestion of ESPN broadcaster Stephen A. Smith, drove to Bryant’s house in a gated community, where Bryant refused to see him, sources said.
“It went so far that Lee had a last-minute plan to substitute Spurs star Tim Duncan for Kobe and make the whole documentary about Duncan,” said our source.
Granted, Spike Lee’s work is about as subtle as a blow job in a bus station, but what’s the benefit of putting one of your biggest supporters through that ordeal? Furthermore, a documentary about Tim Duncan?! Ugh, no thanks. I’ll be over here watching the last half hour of Million Dollar Baby on a loop, instead.