Shortly before and soon after his retirement at the end of last season, Kobe Bryant shot down any rumblings of him moving to television and taking an analyst gig with TNT’s Inside the NBA or ESPN’s NBA Countdown. Bryant hasn’t yet made the jump to TV, but he is partnering with ESPN on a new venture.
As reported by Variety‘s Brian Steinberg, Bryant and ESPN will join forces to produce six short-form videos that will focus on various aspects of basketball from the five-time NBA champion’s point of view. The videos will air during ESPN’s NBA coverage with the first debuting on Christmas Day’s NBA Countdown at 2 p.m. ET.
Catch the short film Guarding the Greats that I wrote & directed for ESPN before the GS and CLV game on ABC Xmas day #stillworkinonxmasday
— Kobe Bryant (@kobebryant) December 23, 2016
The series of shorts is named Canvas, with the first episode titled “Guarding the Greats.” In addition to Bryant explaining the best approach to defending star NBA players, the NBA Countdown team of analysts — Jalen Rose, Chauncey Billups and Magic Johnson — will weigh in with their own insight and analysis on that topic during the pregame show.
The titles and subjects of the other five Canvas videos have not yet been revealed, nor their airdates. But the series will be shown throughout the rest of the 2016-17 NBA season, likely airing before standout matchups on ESPN and ABC during the regular season, in addition to the NBA Playoffs and NBA Finals.
Canvas won’t be Bryant’s first venture into short-form video content. Back in May, the Los Angeles Lakers star teamed up with Sports Illustrated for an animated short based on his “Dear Basketball” poem, in which he announced his retirement. He has also expressed interest in producing documentary films as well as fictional storytelling. Filmmaking may well be Bryant’s next pursuit.