A review of the anticipated Kobe Bryant-Spike Lee documentary — which we documented more last week with our quip from the famed producer/director explaining that the Lakers’ star had plenty of creative imput into the project despite some media report trying to “poison the well” (linked here), coming off a first-look at the finished work last March (linked here) after we had the first word about it when it happened in April, 2008 (linked here) — is the focus of today’s media column (linked here).
Now, you judge it. We suspect most all Laker fans will appreciate the effort, the “inside the game” feel. Maybe we expected more. That comes with the hype machine promoting the project.
More quotes on the doc by Lee we procured recently:
== On where he got the idea for this: “The idea came from a soccer film about (Zindine) Zidane (linked here). That’s where we go the idea. We thought, this might work for basketball, too. And Kobe’s a big soccer fan. We gave him the DVD. He said, ‘Let’s go.’”
== On whether it’s too heavy in Xs and Os for the casual fan: “I’m a professor at NYU the last 12 years, and I showed it to my students. Only a few know anything about basketball. You don’t have to be a basketball head to enjoy this film.”
== On whether he’d do the documentary on LeBron James or someone else if Kobe hadn’t cooperated: “Kobe was the first and only choice, and I was very happy when agreed to do it. … We never got to that.”
== On the most fun part of the project: “The whole thing was fun. What was most interesting is, these guys are professionals. Even with cameras in the locker before the game and halftime and after, the players didn’t care. We might as well been flies on the wall. Coach Phil Jackson and the players were doing exactly what they did every game. That’s straight. They were not self-aware of the camera.”
As for more media notes:
==Fox (Channel 11, Saturday at 12:40 p.m.) has lucked out by having the season debut of John Lackey for the Angels when they play at Texas. Josh Lewin and Mark Grace call it (to 18 percent of the country). Most (66 percent) see New York Mets at San Francisco (Johan Santana against Randy Johnson). Sunday, TBS’ national game puts Minnesota at New York Yankees (10 a.m., with Chip Caray, Ron Darling and David Wells – 11 years to the day that he threw a perfect game against the Twins at Yankee Stadium) while ESPN has the Mets-Giants (5 p.m., with Jon Miller, Joe Morgan and Steve Phillips.)
== MLB Network has the league-produced documentary “Base Ball Discovered” on Sunday at 3 p.m., with various repeats. Narrated by Edward James Olmos and produced by MLB.com, the film goes looking for the true origins of baseball — investigating its link to rounders and cricket and ending up in Surrey, in the southeast part of England with an interesting discovery.
== David Feherty, told to just be quiet and hopes it goes away from CBS, will be back on course in his usual reporter role when the network coverage the PGA’s Tiger-less Valero Texas Open this weekend (Saturday and Sunday, Channel 2, noon to 3 p.m. both days). What would cause Feherty not to be there? More linked here and linked here. … and even here. .. and one last one here.
== The first match under Wimbledon’s new Centre Court roof will make it as a 3 1/2-hour program on ESPN Classic — Saturday at 6:30 a.m., from the BBC feed. The exhibition, to test the All England Club’s new retractable roof and ventilation system, features Andre Agassi and wife Steffi Graf, plus Tim Henman and Kim Clijsters competing in a men’s singles, women’s singles and mixed doubles match. Wimbledon begins on ESPN on June 22.
== Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions will try a monthly boxing series for Versus called “Fight Night Club” starting next month at the new L.A. Live Club Nokia. The monthly shows will, of course, promote De La Hoya’s clients. First episode is set for June 11.
== HBO’s next “Real Sports” (Tuesday, 10 p.m.) includes Andrea Kremer sitting down with new NFL Players Association head DeMaurice Smith, a Jon Frankel story on bull riding, a Frank Deford piece on ultra-competitive parents trying to produce athletic kids, and Bernard Goldberg revisists his story on thoroughbred race horse slaughtering, which won a Sports Emmy for Outstanding Sports Journalism.
== The Cincinnati Bengals, with QB Carson Palmer and new linebacker Rey Malaluga, provide the storylines for the new season of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” training camp documentary show, scheduled to debut Wednesday, Aug. 2 and go five episodes through Sept. 9, the network announced. In previous years, HBO did its “Hard Knocks” series with the Baltimore Ravens (2001), Dallas Cowboys (2002 and ’08, from Thousand Oaks) and Kansas City Chiefs (2007).
== A one-hours special of something CBS has called “The Alt Games” airs Saturday (Channel 2, 11 a.m.). Formerly called The Collegiate Nationals, it’s a somewhat college action championship with 11 events that include beach volleyball, snowboarding, wakeboarding … and competitive eating. Jonny Moseley hosts it from Copper Mountain, Colo., as well as Riverside (where the volleyball took place a couple of weeks ago) and San Diego (water sports, eating). More than 500 kids from 45 colleges participated. More info: www.thealtgames.com.
== AND THE CLOSING ARGUMENT:
== Quote of the week, from Dan Patrick, on his syndicated sports-talk show:
“(Philadelphia Phillies star) Ryan Howard let me down. He promised he’d hit a home run for me last night for my dying career.”
The Phillies were playing the Dodgers the night before.