For the past few weeks, ESPN’s The Last Dance, has been entertaining sports fans by diving into the Chicago Bulls championship run during the 1997-1998 NBA season. The docuseries has also taken the time to weave other NBA greats into the narrative as well. One of tonight’s episodes will heavily feature late Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who had a special relationship with Michael Jordan. This installment will be emotional to say the least and, according to Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant fans will be pleased with it.
Magic Johnson, like many of us, has been enjoying The Last Dance and is looking forward to finishing it out, yet he’s particularly excited to watch the fifth chapter. Although Johnson opted against a sneak peek, he believes that fans of Kobe Bryant and the Lakers are going to get a lot of the episode:
It’s going to mean a lot to a lot of people, especially [in Los Angeles], and it’s going to mean a lot to Kobe fans. They’re going to need this. Nobody is past what happened. It will mean something to them and all of us who are Kobe fans and Lakers fans.
As most know, Bryant died earlier this year along with his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash. The first trailer for The Last Dance confirmed that Bryant was interviewed for the series and, with the project having begun production a few years ago, we can definitely assume that Bryant completed his interview segment.
Kobe Bryant also won’t be the only interviewee to appear in The Last Dance posthumously. Former NBA commissioner David Stern, who died of a brain hemorrhage earlier this year, is also set to appear in the docuseries.
The world was shaken by the death of Kobe Bryant and, months later, many sports fans are still grappling with the reality that the future Hall of Famer is gone. With this, many are likely both excited and dreading actually seeing him on screen due to those feelings coming back to the surface.
It’s sure to be a bittersweet experience, but Magic Johnson’s comments to The LA Times should still get Laker fans excited for tonight. Kobe Bryant may no longer be with us, but you can be sure that the crew of The Last Dance has done what they can to properly honor his memory. This will include a brief tribute to Bryant at the opening.
Basketball fans know that Michael Jordan and Kobe Bryant shared a bond both as competitors and men, and it’ll be interesting to see how The Last Dance paints a picture of that connection. Let’s hope we still get to hear some trash talk as well.
The Last Dance airs Sundays on ESPN at 9 p.m. EST, and the docuseries will also be available to stream on Netflix this summer.