The late Kobe Bryant was featured in the fifth installment of the Chicago Bulls documentary “The Last Dance,” but the film’s director indicated that Bryant’s busy schedule made it difficult to interview him for the project.
Jason Hehir interviewed Bryant in July 2019, but was only given 25 minutes to interview the Lakers legend, which Hehir found to be an unusual circumstance.
“I had to work hard, which was unusual in this process because normally people are ready to sit down and heap praise on Michael,” said Hehir.
The chief reason why Bryant’s time was limited was because he was in the process of composing a speech to honor Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell, who was being awarded the ESPYS’ annual Arthur Ashe Courage Award.’
In addition, Bryant wasn’t immediately receptive to offering his thoughts on Michael Jordan, whose career with the Bulls forms the bulk of the documentary.
“We were kind of circling each other for a while,” Hehir admitted.
While the film shows Bryant’s deep admiration for the mentoring that Jordan offered him, Hehir noted that Bryant said he was more of a fan of Magic Johnson. The response came after Bryant was queried about the first pair of Jordan sneakers that he owned.
However, once the subject moved to the 1998 NBA All-Star Game, Bryant became more open with his comments. That marked Bryant’s first appearance in the annual classic and Jordan’s last with the Bulls.
Bryant’s shocking death in a helicopter crash on Jan. 26 added a poignant aspect to the interview, with the episode itself dedicated to his memory.