Spike Lee on Kobe’s creative imput: We did the right thing, so what’s the problem?


Without having seen the piece yet, all we’ve been getting in this part of the country on the Spike Lee-Kobe Bryant collaberation of a documentary financed by ESPN called “Kobe Doin’ Work” is about how the Lakers’ star was miffed by not having enough creative control of the project.

It was an April 27 story on the New York Post’s Page 6 gossip home (linked here) that started to fan those flames, apparently. A “spokesman” for Lee, according to the story, called it “complete baseless.”

This morning, Lee said it himself: Shut up. That’s just a lot of Hollywood talk.

“That is so far from the truth,” Lee said in a conference call with a handful of writers that ESPN arranged. “Kobe loves it. First, if he didn’t like it, he wouldn’t have sat through the commentary. He said several times just how fun it was doing it.”

So then, how come that report bleed out?

“I’ve been making movies for 20 years,” said Lee. “Who knows where it comes from. That’s not my concern. People are trying for whatever reason to poison the well. This is all good. There’s no story there.”

Keith Clinkscales, ESPN senior vice president of content development and enterprises and a co-producer of the project, added: “The only point I’d like to make — there was a tremendous amount of logistics involved. When you see it and all the access that’s inside the Laker locker room during the game and the proximity to the bench … there’s a tremendous amount of cooperation. Kobe had plenty of creative imput because he was on the floor. I’m not sure where that came from, but this was a very innovate way to bring forth the athlete.”

The documentary, which debuted at the Tribuca Film Festival in New York, will air on ESPN on Saturday, May 16, at 5 p.m. (PDT). On April 13, 2008, during a Lakers’ game at Staples Center against San Antonio — the final regular-season game that had playoff seeding implications, televised by ABC — Lee arranged for some 30 cameras and a slew of microphones to follow Bryant from home to game to postgame, with access granted by the team, coach Phil Jackson, owner Dr. Jerry Buss and the NBA.

Lee supplimented the ABC camera crew with his own cinematographer and a couple of camera operators from NFL Films that sat on opposite baselines to capture the moments. Bryant eventually connected with Lee and did the narration during the Lakers’ only visit to New York on Feb. 2 — right after his 61-point game at Madison Square Garden, which Lee attended (and was interviewed by KCAL’s John Ireland during the contest):

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