Kobe Doin' Work
|Kobe: Doin' Work|
|Directed by||Spike Lee|
|Produced by||Spike Lee
|Music by||Marvin R. Morris|
|Editing by||Barry Alexander Brown|
|Production company||40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks
|Running time||83 minutes|
Kobe Doin' Work is a 2009 documentary film directed by Spike Lee. It focuses on Kobe Bryant during one day of the 2007–08 Los Angeles Lakers season. Bryant granted filmmaker Spike Lee and 30 cameras unprecedented access to his life for one day. Kobe: Doin' Work premiered on ESPN on May 16, 2009.
Early Years of Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant is an NBA basketball player playing in the league since 1996. Born on August 23, 1978, Kobe is the son of the former NBA player “Jellybean” Joe Bryant. Kobe Bryant attended Lower Merion High School outside Philadelphia, where he was named Pennsylvania Player of the Year his junior year in high school. Kobe was amazing in high school especially during his senior year when he averaged 30.8 points per game as well as 12 rebounds and 6.5 assists per game. Bryant declared for the NBA draft while he graduated high school at the age of 17, and the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick drafted Bryant. Soon Kobe was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for center Vlade Divac. Kobe Bryant’s first NBA game was on November 1, 1996, with the Los Angeles Lakers, and he is still playing in the league as of the 2013-14 NBA season. Kobe Bryant has had a hall of fame career, adding five NBA titles along with 15 All Star appearances, and a career average of 25.5 points per game, including many other accolades. Kobe is also very popular among fans, as he has been one of the most exciting players to watch for over 18 years now in the NBA. There has been some controversy regarding Kobe Bryant, specifically in 2003, when Bryant was accused of sexual assault with a 19-year-old girl. The case was so in with the media at the time, that Kobe was being interviewed about it constantly. Following the rape scandal in which the case was dropped against Bryant, more drama and controversy followed with Bryant during the 2003-04 regular season. After the Lakers defeat to the 2004 NBA champion Detroit Pistons, Kobe and Shaquille O’Neal got into a feud that would not be resolved, ending in O’Neal being traded to the Miami Heat. Many saw the event as a cruel move by Bryant to get O’Neal, the Lakers other superstar off the team. Bryant over the years has gained as much fame as hatred from people across the globe. He currently has over 4 million Twitter followers as of 2013, and he has appeared in commercials to movies becoming one of the world’s best-known athletes. In the 2007-08 NBA season, Kobe Bryant won league MVP, as well as taking his Los Angeles Lakers to the NBA Finals.
Kobe Doin’ Work is an 84-minute exploitation of Kobe Bryant’s work ethic, his in game mentality, and his bluntness that makes Kobe a great competitor.  It focuses on Kobe Bryant during one day of the 2007–08 Los Angeles Lakers season. Bryant granted filmmaker Spike Lee and 30 cameras unprecedented access to his life for one day. Kobe: Doin' Work premiered on ESPN on May 16, 2009.The documentary follows Kobe Bryant during the 2007–08 NBA season throughout the April 13, 2008 game against the San Antonio Spurs. The game in which Kobe was documented and given a microphone to capture live in game moments was a heated game with the rival Spurs. Kobe shot 6 of 14 from the field, scored 20 points, and played 32 minutes. The game was a crucial game in the end of the regular season, as the Los Angeles Lakers hoped to keep first place in the Western Conference with a record of 55-25. Spike Lee was interviewed asking why he chose Kobe Bryant to direct this documentary, in which Lee replied, “I'm a big basketball fan. It was obvious. He was having an MVP-type year, in which he did win the MVP. Also the Lakers looked like they were going to take it to the Finals. And I wanted them to beat the Celtics. I hate the Celtics. But the Celtics won. But I don't think I was taking a gamble by choosing Kobe.” (Lee, NBA.com)3. Kobe agreed to let Lee microphone him during the game, in which he also played in the game. According to Spike Lee, “He (Kobe) said several times how much fun it was just doing it.” (Lee, NBA.com)3. The 83-minute documentary ran on ESPN commercial free. The documentary also focuses on Bryant and the team in huddles and during time-outs. The cameras also get full access of coach Phil Jackson in the locker room with the team during half-time. Bryant provided the voiceover for the documentary on February 2, 2009, hours after he scored 61 points against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, (then a single-game record at the arena, which has been broken since). Spike Lee said that he was excited for Kobe to do the commentary following a game at Madison Square Garden, but no one expected a 61 point performance from Bryant. “I know that if he had a terrible game the commentary would not have been the same. Guaranteed. But Kobe said he made a point to make sure not to lose the game or he would hear it from me.” (Lee, 8th paragraph)3. Kobe indeed said in an after game interview that he was going to give the game his all in order to show Spike Lee a thing or two about Bryant’s skills on the court against the Knicks. "On a lighter note, I'm going to review this documentary I'm doing with Spike Lee tonight after the game and I didn't feel like sitting next to him and hearing him talking trash about the Knicks, so that was added incentive as well. Seriously. He's going to get an earful tonight." (Bryant, 8th paragraph, ESPN.com)4
Reception of the documentary
Kobe Doin’ Work received mixed signals from critics and viewers alike. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 58% viewer rating out of 100 (rottentomatoes.com)5. The perception was that Kobe’s in game influence was overshadowed by highlights and pointless in game commentary, and not enough surrounding Kobe’s relentlessness on and off the court. Kobe’s commentary on the documentary did receive much praise for it value to the film. Overall, the film received a decent review, but some have argued for the overuse of 30 different camera angles that were needed to capture Bryant’s every move. This, according to some distracted viewers from the real subject matter that is Kobe Bryant (Cracknell 1)6.
1 "Kobe Bryant Stats." Kobe Bryant-ESPN. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 May 2013. http://espn.go.com/nba/player/stats/_/id/110/kobe-bryant
2 "Spike Lee Biography." Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, 2013. Web. 6 May 2013. http://www.biography.com/people/spike-lee-9377207?page=1
3 "Q&A with Spike Lee on New Kobe Documentary." NBA.com:. Ed. Adena Andrews. N.p., 9 May 2009. Web. 1 May 2013. http://www.nba.com/2009/news/05/09/spikelee.qa/
4 "Kobe Scores 61." NY Daily News. N.p., 3 Feb. 2009. Web. 13 May 2013. http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/basketball/knicks/kobe-scores-61-gallery- 1.70362?pmSlide=3
5 "Kobe Doin' Work (2009)." Kobe Doin' Work. Rotten Tomatoes, 2009. Web. 11 May 2013. http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1213983-kobe_doin_work/
6 Cracknell, Ryan. "Kobe Doin’ Work." Movie Views. N.p., 25 Nov. 2009. Web. 13 May 2013. http://movieviews.ca/kobe-doin-work