Kobe Bryant's Muse (2015) Script

One of the most terrifying dreams for me.

One of the most terrifying dreams for me was a dream of me being on a basketball court, stadium's full, and I'm attacking the basket, and I can't get off the ground.

I can't jump. Like, I'm stuck.

Like, I'm cemented to the floor.

I was conscious of the fact that I was dreaming.

And so now, I'm trying to control my dream.

"You can jump through it, "you can push through it.

"You can get to that basket."

"You can get to that basket."

And no matter how hard I tried, my legs were too heavy.

Can't jump.


A year that's given us more than a share of disappointment has also provided us with numerous thrills, and Laker fans are looking for more here tonight with three games remaining and destiny in the Laker hands to get back into the playoffs where they usually do well.

To get back into the playoffs where they usually do well.

Are you ready?!

Our warm-ups are always just kind of doing the mental check of my body.

Like, what's tight?

What's pulling on me? What's not pulling on me?

How do I loosen it up? How to get things going.

And, um, my body felt... a little stiff.

Kobe's got four seconds on the shot clock.

He spins, turns, fall away... short.

Taken by Jarrett Jack.

And I remember getting loosed up, getting going, And I remember getting loosed up, getting going, and then finally, the game, kinda working myself into a lather, and, um... my body felt good.

Here he comes.

Around the back, spinning, shooting, scoring!

I had never worked so much in my entire career in terms of preparation and getting my body physically ready, and getting my body physically ready, night in and night out, and I'd been playing some of my best basketball.

Bryant attacking base line, and he runs into a stone wall of Festus Ezeli, and he's holding his left knee.

Battling through, trying to make the playoffs, playing all these minutes.

As he has it, spin it, in trouble.

Oh, he's limping, he's hurting.

Kobe's hurting.

These minutes might be just absolutely adding up.

Oh, there's no question they're adding up.

No question.

What I always try to do through injuries is.

What I always try to do through injuries is not think about it because when the game itself is more significant than the injury, you don't feel the injury.

The injury won't get in the way because it's not important to you.

Kobe, 3... yes!

Big one, Bryant, from outside.

107, 104.

Three-point game, five minutes left.

Kobe, guarded by the rookie, Harrison Barnes, Kobe, one-one-one, isolated.

For the tie... he's got it!

He's got it!

It's 107, all.

The Mamba is looking like the Mamba.

Bryant again going to work, falls down.

Again, he's struggling.

He's gonna stay down there for a bit.

As soon as I need to move, I knew it.

I mean, that's the Achilles.

I shouldn't say that.

I shouldn't say that.

That's a foot injury.

It feels like the shock absorbers in the back of your foot are just gone, just nothing there.

So when you walk, it's like... it feels like your calf muscle is touching the floor.

I could feel it rolling up the back of my calf as if it was just kind of slipping up further and further.

I remember feeling the silence.

I remember feeling the silence.

I remember feeling the fear.

Thirty-five years old, 17, 18 years in the league.

I'm like, "This could be a wrap."

And that's what the silence was.

It was like, "This could really be a wrap for you."

He could barely make it to the free-throw line.

Bryant tonight with 32 points, five rebounds, four assists, and he is hurting.

And he is hurting.

But the Lakers down by two, and they want him and need him at the free-throw line.

Got it.

So Kobe Bryant cannot continue.

Metta World Peace replacing Kobe Bryant.

And the crowd...

the ovation, and I would assume he'd go straight to the locker room.

My family walks in.

It's Vanessa and our daughters, and, um, you know, I'm already-- You know, I've been crying.

And, um...

well, I had tears in my eyes.

Well, I had tears in my eyes.

I don't think I was crying yet.

I was more upset.

Like, this could be the end.

In a locker room, on the court, around my teammates, I've always tried to be very strong and be invincible.

Not be Clark Kent, but be Superman.

And then your family comes in, And then your family comes in, and now that is home.

That's where you can be you.

And, um, I just let it go.

I mean, I couldn't hold onto it anymore, you know?

And you don't, you know--

Looking at my daughters' faces, I mean, they were genuinely afraid, right, because they had never-- They could feel something, they could feel the tension, they could feel the tension, but they didn't really know exactly why.

And as a parent, the first thing that comes to your mind when you see your kids afraid is you want them to not be afraid.

Right? You wanna give them strength.

You wanna give them courage.

You wanna reassure them.

And the only way I could reassure them is by telling them, "Hey, Daddy's okay," you know?

"It's going to be all right.

"It's a little setback, but we'll be fine."

Right?

"This is what we talk about all the time.

"You know, you have a bump in the road, you fall, "you get back up, and you go after it again.

"You get back up, and you go after it again.

"Right? That's what we do."

And so, even at the time I didn't believe it myself, I felt like it was important to say that to them because I felt they needed to hear that.

And as a parent, you can't just talk the talk, you gotta walk the walk, and you gotta be brave,

and, uh, in these types of situations, if not for yourself, then for your kids.

Then for your kids.

Kobe, are you convinced that--

They told us probable torn Achilles, they're gonna do an MRI.

Are you pretty convinced that's what it is?

Yeah.

If anyone's gonna get through this, it's probably you, right?

Oh, man. Shit.

Oh, man. Shit.

You've had tons of personal and professional challenges in your career.

Is this at the top of the list?

Yeah, you know, um, but it's fueling me, it's fueling me.

I can feel it already.

You know, I can feel it already.

It's just, you know, players at this stage of their career, you know, they pop an Achilles and, you know, the pundits say they never come back the same.

So, I can hear it already, and it's pissing me off right now just thinking about it right now, so... just thinking about it right now, so...

So, this isn't the last game that we'll see you play.

Really?

I'm just asking.

Well, no, I'm not trying to be rude.

Really?

I'm sorry.

I'm just trying--

It's appropriate that you ask that question from down there.

This injury was Mount Everest for me, personally, because I knew what the long road was gonna be.

So at that point, you have to make a decision.

You have to make a choice.


Oh, it looks beautiful.

It goes up there, it goes down below.

Can I have a suture-removal?

It's fabulous. No swelling, huh?

Nice tension in it.

Yeah, great tension.

Kobe, the tension is just perfect.

It is?

Oh, yeah.

Beautiful.

Yeah, it's beautiful.

Can you feel me touching you here?

Yeah.

That's sural nerve.

Yeah.

Yeah.

Even his healing--

He's got good healing capabilities.

He's got this medial nerve.

This looks absolutely beautiful.

Yeah.

Beautiful.

If you could just hold that.

If you could just hold that.

Okay, and then that, just open up the Kling.

Point your whole foot up towards the ceiling.

That's it.

And relax.

Up.

Good.

Looks pretty good.

Push it up.

Just hold it up there.

Just hold it up there.

Hold it up, hold it up, hold it up.

Go ahead and move your finger.

Let him hold it himself.

And let it relax.

Wow.

Shut these naysayers up once and for all.

Bryant puts it on the floor, gets inside... oh!

Jellybean!

He made like Darryl Dawkins.

He made like Darryl Dawkins.

Bryant arms the building-shaker.

Look at this, way up there.

He slams it down.

Look at his body, how high he is in the air.

That's incredible.

He used to be really sore from playing.

You know?

So, he would have his kids walk on his back, which I thought was really fun, standing on your father's back and you're cracking his back as you're walking on top of him.

I always thought that was pretty, pretty cool.

I used to walk on his hamstrings and stuff.

I used to walk on his hamstrings and stuff.

He's a ball-handling guard at six-ten that can shoot the long ball.

And he had all the skills.

He had all the skills.

Fans loved him.

He could do virtually anything.

So, he played in the NBA for eight years, and decided if he wanted to further his career and play the way he wanted to play, he should make the transition to play overseas and play in Italy.

So, he took us with him.

I was six, and at six, you just go with the flow.

I was six, and at six, you just go with the flow.

You're moving to a place where you don't speak the language at all.

You have friends there, and now, after two years, you bounce to another city.

Now, you have to start again.

And then two years later, it repeats itself.

Two years later, that repeats itself.

And now, you really don't know anybody, and you have to figure things out all over again.

I was more than happy just to tag along, just to be around that atmosphere, be around the game and be a ball boy, just kind of be in the mix.

I would sit under the basket the entire game, and I would have one of those big, like, sweeper, like, court-sweeper things.

Something happened on the court, somebody slipped on some sweat, I was really anal about making sure I got every little, every last drop up.

It was rush to be that close.

I used to try to sleep with my clothes on.

You know, if he needed to get to practice, I didn't want to make him feel like I was gonna make him late or something.

I mean, they would do, like, two practices a day and that sort of stuff, and I'd wanna go.

And that sort of stuff, and I'd wanna go.

I'd beg to go, but he wouldn't let me go.

So, I would disappear and go play basketball.

The thing that was always the most constant was the game.

And that was my refuge.

That was the place where I could go and have complete familiarity no matter where I was, whether it was Rieti, Reggio Calabria, Reggio Emilia, Pistoia-- It didn't matter.

Whether I got along with kids, didn't get along with the kids, didn't get along with the kids, didn't matter because I always had my ball.

So, I can always pick up my basketball, I can always hop on my bike, I can always go to the park, and I can always shoot.

Right?

And, um, that gave me a great source of comfort.

Twenty-foot jumper's not hot enough, and the rebound to Scott, Scott to Magic Johnson, Magic in the front, good transition.

Bounce down the middle!

Slam dunk!

It's gonna be stolen, I think, by the Doctor.

Yes, he's got it. Here he comes.

Yes, he's got it. Here he comes.

Hey, rock the baby to sleep with slam dunk!

Herridge back out to Dennis, Dennis looks for Gaines, gives it to him, over to Bird.

Bird's three-pointer and away... good!

My mom's father, Grandpa Cox, he used to record all the games.

And he used to box them up and send us copies of them.

And I would sit there at home and watch these games over and over and over and watch these games over and over and over and over and over and over and over.

Beautiful defense for the Lakers...

The pass to Magic... Kareem slams!

And gets it away to Jordan!

Underneath, and he's in!

One second left!

I saw NBA game.

I saw other players around him.

Everybody was there, and I could see it clear as day.

It was a place that I could go to and not be alone.

Right down to the base, he shoots, he scores!

And he's back. Sixteen by Battle.

I remember I realized that I had to learn how to go coast-to-coast because that's what John Battle from the Atlanta Hawks did.

John Battle.

Most people probably don't know who John Battle is, but I do because from watching him get a rebound, go coast-to-coast with his left hand, even though he was right-handed, "Whoa, I need to do that."

"Whoa, I need to do that."

Battle left to right...

Perpetual motion, he is difficult to stay with.

Moves left, moves right, gets himself open for the shot.

I want to do what those guys do on TV.

It was this, like, mythical thing.

Three-point...

Oh, Battle gets it away!

He made it! He made it!

He made it!

...and this game was history.

John Battle...

Six to nine months is the very earliest, and in all probability, it's a year, and the real question, which you hit on is:

Will he ever be the same?

And many of our best basketball players, Isaiah Thomas, Shaq, Barkley, all retired after this injury.


The game for me has always been about passion until probably about the age of... age of thirteen.

So, it was all about, kind of, love.

It was fun, you know.

I went out and played and just had a good time.

Once we moved back to America for good, when I was thirteen years old, I kind of moved in about November or so in the school year, Bala Cynwyd middle school, and it was different.

I mean, I didn't understand the slang.

I was a little Italian boy.

I didn't understand the fashion.

And I couldn't spell.

And I couldn't spell.

So, the teacher told my mother that I was probably dyslexic.

It was like somebody took me and dropped me in a bucket, in a tub of ice-cold water 'cause it shocked the shit out of me.

I didn't know anybody.

Very awkward, skinny-looking, barely spoke.

Sitting at a lunch table all by myself, no friends.

And I was upset that I had moved.

And I had all this, you know, And I had all this, you know, resentment and anger inside of me that I hadn't really let out.

It was never viewed as, "I'm going to control this thing."

It was more like, "You know what?

"I'm just gonna

"delay the eruption.

"I'm just gonna push it to the side.

"I'm just gonna push it to the side

"and then use it to my benefit

"for what it is that I love doing, "which is playing the game."

And once I discovered that, everything about the game changed...

because now I understood that I could really lose myself through the game.

Through the game.

And no matter what affected me, no matter what happened in life, I could always step on the basketball court and let my game speak to that.

You know, step on that court and just absolutely erupt.

...Kobe Bryant.

And that feeling of playing with that rage.

And that feeling of playing with that rage was new to me.

But I fucking loved it.


There's a choice that we have to make as people, as individuals.

If you wanna be great at something, there's a choice that you have to make.

We all can be masters at our craft.

But you have to make a choice.

What I mean by that is, there are inherent sacrifices that come along with that, come along with that, family time, hanging out with your friends, being a great friend, right?

Being a great, um, um, um... son, nephew, whatever the case may be.

There's sacrifices that come along with making it.

Counting it down.

It is over, unfortunately, for the Cathedral Prep players.

Lower Merion prevails and wins the state championship by the final score of 48 to 43.

The celebration is on for the Aces.

The celebration is on for the Aces.

Look at the media chasing Kobe Bryant.

They want a shot of him because this game just may be this young man's last game before heading to the NBA.

In your heart of hearts, do you think you're good enough right now to play in the NBA next year?

Uh, it's good to have self-confidence.

I wanna learn how to become the best basketball player in the world.

The best basketball player in the world.

And if I'm gonna learn that, I gotta learn from the best.

Kids go to school to be doctors or lawyers and so forth and so on.

That's where they study.

That's the place for them to study, My place to study is from the best.

I, Kobe Bryant, have decided to skip college and take my talent to the NBA.

I knew that I was not going to be stopped.

So at the age of eighteen, So at the age of eighteen, this was my life.

Right?

So, you can't possibly become better than me because you're not spending the time on it that I do.

Even if you wanna spend the time on it, you can't because you have other things.

You have other responsibilities that are taking you away from it.

So, I already won.


Been a long road?

Yep.

I bet.

I love the comment that you made that you're starting to feel almost like you did in the very first year, some of that education.

Of course.

It's gotta be one of the hardest times you've ever worked out.

I bet.

Well, I have a ton of respect for you.

Hope to see you back out there.

Thank you.

Soon. I know I will.

Jerry? Have Jerry come up for us.

Excuse me.

We'll put the rich guy in the middle.

Growing up in Italy, I was such a big Laker fan.

Like, a massive Laker fan.

I knew everything about them.

I was obsessed with Magic.

I used to work on my sky hook every single day.

And then-- To be like Kareem.

And then, I worked on the baby hook to be like Magic.

And, uh, I worked on my runners.

And, uh, I worked on my runners to be like James Worthy.

My left-hand hook runners, right-hand hook runners, my pull-up jump shot in transition like Byron Scott, and scoring 40, 50, 60 points, 80 points.

I'd have those dreams.

And so, a hundred percent of the time when I imagined these things, I had on a Laker uniform.

Golden jersey, baby.

This was, like, dream come true.

Elden Campbell back on the floor with Rooks and Kobe Bryant making his first appearance in Madison Square Garden.

Eighteen years of age, and he'll go to the free throw line.

Now, let's give you some perspective.

This is the third game of the season.

A year ago at this time in his third game for Lower Merion High School, Kobe Bryant was leading the Lower Merion Aces to victory over Haverford High School.

To victory over Haverford High School.

There is his first point in the NBA.

And it comes at the age of 18 years, 2 months, and a couple of days.

All season, I was just waiting and waiting for my opportunity to come.

I wanted to prove that I was better than they thought I was, you know?

I wanted to prove to myself that I'm better than they think I was.

And I was mentally preparing myself and visualizing the moment that would come where, you know, I'm--

I lead the Los Angeles Lakers to a victory.

Knight comes off the back to Shaq for the rebound.

Kobe, don't do that.

You know you're gonna wear out your pants if you plan on doing that.

There are times I'd sit the bench for seven straight games and then play the last twenty seconds of a game and then look around and see other players in the league that are out there playing and performing and setting the league on fire.

...the crowd is into it...

Yes!

Comes the way out and goes right down the middle...

I knew I could play with these guys because I had seen them up-close.

I knew I could compete with them, but I wasn't getting the opportunity to show it.

There's Kobe on the bench, itching, itching to get in.

One of the things I always used to do is get in my car and drive around the campus of UCLA.

I'd see kids hanging out at fraternity houses and just walking around.

And just walking around.

I just wanted to feel that.

You know?

Just wanted to feel that.

And then I'd even wonder, "Fuck, did I make the wrong choice, man?

"Did I fuck up?

"I could be going to college and laughing and hanging out

"with these kids, man, "and having a good time and enjoying it.

"But, no, here I am."

It's game five in the best of seven, Western Conference Semi-final.

The Utah Jazz leading this series three games to one.

Lakers do not have a time-out.

Lakers do not have a time-out.

Eleven-point, three to play in regulation.

You see the storm...

Before each series, we got a binder, and it had all the plays and the players and their statistics, and I mean, I really studied it.

Like, I really studied it.

And I didn't know most of the players took the books and, you know, just kind of left them in their rooms or whatever.

But I really studied them.

Like, I knew the sets, I knew the percentages.

I knew, you know, and I just tried to be as prepared as possible I just tried to be as prepared as possible because this was, like...

I didn't wanna mess up.

This has been a game for Los Angeles.

That, obviously, they need to win.

A loss and they're eliminated from the playoffs, and here we go.

Kobe Bryant will take it.

Bryant right by Russell, five seconds left.

Four, Bryant drives... shot on the way.

No good. We go to overtime.

I've gotta say this, for an 18-year-old to take this shot when it's on the line, let's give him some credit for that.

Let's give him some credit for that.

Fisher wide open to Kobe Bryant.

Let's see how strong he is because that hurts confidence, both in Kobe and his teammates running the ball.

He has shot two air balls in a row.

He's got to come up and play like it's nothing.

You just missed a shot, that's all that happened.

Van Exel straight away to Bryant.

Bryant for three... it's short. Air ball.

Three times he shot air balls.

Three times he shot air balls.

I'm just gonna keep on going, no matter what.

You can fail ten times, and that eleventh time is when you're great.

You fail eleven times and the twelfth time is gonna be great.

But eventually, it's gonna happen.

Fifteen seconds to go, a chance to tie.

Van Exel with it.

Bryant for the tie... another air ball!

It's over, it's over.

I do believe it's over.

It's all over.

We flew back to L.A. that night.

And I got home, it was probably, And I got home, it was probably, like, three in the morning.

And I went down to the high school, which is down the street from my house.

And the janitor let me in the gym, and I shot all day.

All day.

I mean, all day.

And this was right after that playoff game.

And, um, I didn't leave the gym.

I just kept shooting and shooting and shooting and shooting and shooting and shooting and practicing and practicing.

And practicing and practicing.

And I got a chance to let out the steam of disappointing my teammates and millions of fans.

I got a chance to let all that out instead of bottling it up and envision that moment over and over and over and over and over.

That was a huge summer for me because

I felt like everybody had written me off after those air balls.

I was really excited when the schedule came out and I saw we had Utah.

And I saw we had Utah.

Tonight in the season opener, the Los Angeles Lakers host the Utah Jazz.

The ball to Kobe, comes underneath, lays it up and in with a 360 curve.

The hips were flying, the feet were moving, the arms were going, and he put in a flutter ball.

Kobe with the ball.

He just made a great move a second ago.

He went underneath and brought it back with the left hand, did he not?

Yes, he did.

87-77.

87-77.

That's called being ambidextrous.

I came from really big in the clutch, really big in the clutch.

And I remember just feeling like, feeling really, like, vindicated.

Like, for me, it was a really big deal.

For the veterans, they probably didn't give a shit about it.

It was just another regular season game.

But for me, it was a big deal.

Yeah, count it.

Basket is good.

Did you see him finish that play, Chick?

Yes, I did.

You have come so far in one year.

That's because you work so hard in the summer?

I definitely did.

I was a student of the game.

I tried to understand things that I wasn't doing very well last season and try to add them to my game.

And it's difficult because you have to break habits, so that was the hardest adjustment.

But this year, you're getting more minutes.

Obviously, a guy can play better when he's not looking over his shoulder to see if the coach is gonna take him out.

Well, when you play more minutes, you naturally get better because that's experience out there on the court.

Because that's experience out there on the court.

You're gonna get all kinds of endorsements, which you're already getting.

You gotta get somebody that sells toothpaste.

You've got beautiful teeth.

Oh, thank you very much.

Appreciate it.

Well, he might be only 18 years and five months old, but this guy can do everything that the veterans can do and do it better, perhaps, yeah?

Here we go, change of direction.

Slam dunk!

How good is this kid?

The most important this is you must put everybody on notice that you're here and you're for real.

I'm not a player that's just gonna come and go.

I'm not a player that's just gonna come and go.

I'm not a player that's gonna make an all-star team one time, two times.

I'm here to be an all-time great.

Once I made that commitment and said, "I want to be one of the greatest ever," then the game became everything for me.

Kobe Bryant is guarded by Michael Jordan.

Pulls away from Michael, oh!

Kobe Bryant.

Even Michael Jordan will tell you that.

Kobe Bryant is the future of the NBA.

You realize how good he is.

He's actually in his second year of college, He's actually in his second year of college, and certainly, he's learned a lot.

He's certainly gonna learn a lot more.

He's gonna be a lot better if he keeps improving.

He's been voted by the fans to start in next Sunday's all-star game, making him the youngest player in.

NBA all-star history.

He's got the ball in his hands again.

To Garnett, back to Kobe!

You ever seen a young man like Kobe Bryant, so confident at his age and so mature?

No.

No, never.

I think that he'll show you things that a lot of--you're talking about a 19-year-old--

A lot of the guys, 25 and 30, 35, can't even do.

A lot of the guys, 25 and 30, 35, can't even do.

Faked the wrap-around, Pete Maravich.

He faked a wrap-around pass behind his back and sets the crowd on fire.


It's like that scene in the movie where everything just magically happens the right way.

Bryant... to Shaq!

Everything was clicking.

You know, playing the best basketball of my career, the physical aspect, the mental aspect, starting my family--

Everything's just rolling.

Kobe!

Here's Bryant, six on the shot clock, Reggie defending.

Kobe, five seconds.

Kobe, five seconds.

Off to Kobe Bryant, both teams battling for their collective lives.

Kobe's outside hitter!

And the Lakers are the 2000 NBA Champions!

I can remember winning the championship and kinda being like, "Okay, now what?

"Okay, now what?

"What happens now?

"What happens now?

"Holy shit, that champagne burns like a motherfucker."

"All right, let's celebrate.

"Let's wave the champagne bottles around, "just don't drop it."

Seriously, somebody would drop it.

And then outside of that, it was like, "Okay, now what?"

Back-to-back titles for the Los Angeles Lakers.

Kobe Bryant is just 22 years old.

There's nothing he can't do.

He already has the total package.

He already has the total package.

Shaquille O'Neal, unprecedented what he has done.

Here's a guy who is dominating, maybe more than any player in NBA history.

And the beautiful thing is that they're just getting started.

We're gonna get another one next year... again!

Back-to-back- to-back!

When you make a choice and say, "Come hell or high water, I'm going to be this," then you should not be surprised when you are that.

You should not be something that's...

that feels intoxicating or out-of-character because you had seen this moment for so long.

That played in your mind for so long that when that moment comes, it's like, "Of course it's here," because it's been here the whole time because it's been up here the whole time.

That's what it feels like, at least for me.

The Los Angeles Lakers have made it three straight championships.

They are a team for the ages.

They are a team for the ages.

Seven hundred and fifty dollars. Good luck.

Donna?

2100.

Actual retail price is...

2,999!

Donna!

Oh, my God!

She's having an exorcism.

Everyone loves a delicious baked potato, but cooking them in the oven takes 45 minutes.

And when you cook them in the microwave, they come out mushy and dry.

Introducing Potato Express, the fastest, easiest way to cook perfect baked potatoes in just four minutes.

Does it hurt?

No, it feels a lot better.

No.

When I wake up in the morning, though, it's tight right at the attachment of the tendon and the calcaneus.

Down there?

Yep.

I don't even know how to spell "calcaneus,"

I don't even know how to spell "calcaneus," but I know what the fuck it is.

You gotta be able to communicate what the hell's wrong with you.


Go and...

Playback!

Come on.

Right.

Uh, uh-huh.

What's happening, y'all?

Welcome to my first video shoot.

For those that don't know, yes, I had a budding music career as a rapper.

It, uh... um... didn't last long, but I did make a video.

And on the video set is where I first met Vanessa.

We've got these lovely young ladies that I haven't even met yet.

How you doin'?

How you doin'?

Hi. Kobe.

How are you? Nice to meet you.

Trinidad.

Trinidad. How you doin'?

Tomasina. Tomasina.

And... Vanessa.

Hi.

I wasn't some big-time basketball player at the time, either, so it was like, you know, "It's a pleasure to meet you."

It was a two-day video shoot, and I was always looking for her.

Like, I wanted to know where she was.

And I would finish a take and then go to my trailer, but I'd wonder where she is the entire time and then come out of the trailer and just wanna talk to her some more in between takes and stuff like that.

And she wrote her phone number down at the the time where you still had to write phone numbers down, and, um, I called her the very next day, and we talked for hours.

Vanessa, say "what's up" to the camera.

Vanessa, say "what's up" to the camera.

Hello.

She was just... beautiful.

And we literally did everything together.

Everything together.

And I thought I was a big dork because I loved, I loved Disneyland.

I love the Disney movies and things like that, but I never really had a chance to go to the park much, and she was a big Disney fan, too.

And we used to hang out at Disneyland, we used to go to Magic Mountain.

She became my best friend, you know?

And for me, it was very different.

And for me, it was very different to have somebody that I was so close to because I had been so used to growing up in isolation, really, and moving around from place to place and making new friends all the time.

So, I never really opened up to anybody because I knew I was just gonna inevitably move.

But now, being in Los Angeles and feeling like I'm gonna be a Laker for the rest of my life, and I just met this beautiful woman that I just see the world the same way with, that I just see the world the same way with, we decided to get married.

I proposed, she said "yes."

We're both so young, right?

So, I'd wake up, and I'd go train, and I'd come back, and she'd still be in the bed sleeping, like 18-year-olds do, man.

She'd sleep 'til, like, 12, 1 o'clock in the afternoon, man.

And then I'd lay down with her, and I'd go to sleep again, too.

And then, uh, we'd wake up and just, you know, do what kids do, do what kids do.

I'd take her to the batting cage, I'd take her to the batting cage, we'd go hit some balls.

And we'd play miniature golf.

You know?

Go to the movies.

We'd go out to eat.

It was just--It was a beautiful time, man.

We had Natalia, it was like, such a beautiful moment.

You know?

Because we were starting our own family.

Because we were starting our own family.

And I found so much enjoyment in just being with our baby girl.

It was great putting together the nursery, and you know, the crib, and all those weird Baby Einstein.

Baby Mozart videos where you're kind of just hypnotizing your kid.

Like, we went through all of that, um, all of that stuff, and... and, um... and, um...

You know, when you're young, you really have the tendency to think about your own personal journey.

And for us, it was about taking two young people and trying to figure out our journey together and try to grow together, which is a challenge.

But when you have a kid, But when you have a kid, then it becomes even bigger than that because now you have the responsibility of this little life that you have to mold.

Going through this time made me ask a lot of questions.

Um...

and really try to figure out what's important in life and what's... and what's...

You know, everything that I've kind of been holding

as significant, the championships, the endorsements, um... maybe that's not the most important thing.

I lost sight of what is the most important thing and that's family.

It's a man's job to protect your family.

It's a man's job to protect your family.

It's the man's job to look out for your family.

It's the man's job to always be the anchor of stability for the family.

And, uh... in that aspect, I failed miserably.

I'd wake up in the morning and not know if, like, today's the day where, like, I lose my family.

Is this the day where it's a wrap?

You know?

Like, she's just had enough.

Like, she's just had enough.

One of the things that she said, she said, "You know, "during that time, I hated your guts.

"But it wasn't about you.

"It was about Natalia.

"It was about the fact that.

"I didn't want--

"I wanted to do everything possible to try to

"figure this thing out because I didn't want her growing up

"in a broken home."

"in a broken home."

And things would have been really easy for her to leave, actually, especially during that time.

It would've been much easier to leave.

You leave, you take half the money, you have your daughter, life's, life's--

She's good.

But she didn't do that.

We were expecting, and, um, We were expecting, and, um,

um... expecting our second child during that time.

There was just so much, so much stress.

Um, she actually, she, um, you know, she, uh... we actually miscarried.

And, um, you know...

and, uh... you know...

that's something...

I have a real hard time dealing with that, you know, because I felt like it was just my fault.

You know what I mean?

Like, we should be building our family.

Because of my mistake...

because of this tough year, because of this tough year, um, we're not, um, we lost a baby, you know?

And...

um...

it's, uh...

um...

we, uh,

try to justify the fact that, you know, it's, uh... you know, realize how common miscarriages are and, like, these things happen, and, like, um...

it's part of the process,

but the reality is it happened because of me.

That's the reality of it.

That's the reality of it.

And, uh, that's something I have to deal with.

That's something I gotta carry forever.

At two o'clock, three o'clock in the morning, I would drive.

I'd leave the house and I'd go to the park.

And I'd just sit in the court.

And I'd just sit in the court.

I'd just sit there.

I was sitting on the basketball, and I was just looking out.

I was looking up at the stars, I was looking at the basket and just kind of looking around.

And, um, and then I saw myself.

I saw myself, eight-year-old self sitting in front of me on a ball.

And then I thought, And then I thought, "What would I say to me?"

Knowing now all the pain that I would go through...

that my family would go through, I don't know if I'd keep playing the game.

Even despite his great competitive nature, his will to win, his work ethic, you can't expect him to be the same dominant force at 36 and 37 as he was at 26 and 27.

As Mark Jackson always said to me, "Father Time is undefeated."

And it's the truth.


In 2003, I went from a person that was at the top of his game, had everything coming to, a year later, having absolutely no idea where life is going, or if you're going to be able to even be a part of life as we all know it.

Be a part of life as we all know it.

I hear everything that the crowd is saying, and I hear, um, I hear it.

So, it's like this place where it was my refuge is now being bombarded with all kinds of things that they would say.

All kinds of things that they would say.

And I had to separate myself because going through that time I felt like there's so many things coming at once and just becoming very, very confusing.

I had to organize things.

So, I created the "Black Mamba."

Kobe... got it at the buzzer!

Mamba, as he's known as, the killer black snake, has the killer look in his eyes right now.

So, Kobe has to deal with these issues, So, Kobe has to deal with these issues, all the personal challenges.

The Black Mamba steps on the court and does what he does.

Kobe, three, at the buzzer!

The Mamba.

See the venom that he's spewing.

I mean, it was... fuck everyone.

I'm destroying everybody that stepped on the court.

Kobe with it, guarded by Patterson, staying outside the arc, dribbling.

Patterson keeps his feet.

Patterson keeps his feet.

Kobe... oh!

He made it!

He threw it in!

He's torching whomever...

One second remaining in the regular season.

Out to Kobe...

Oh! What a way to play!

Are you kiddin' me?!

And the Lakers have won the Pacific Division title.

I had all this pent up frustration that I just needed to let out.

It was an avalanche, man.

And, you know, there was nothing that was going to get in the way.

There was nothing that was gonna stop me.

Kobe Bryant!

It's the battle that's going on within me that I'm carrying with me to these games competitions, so it's not about you.

It's not about anybody else.

You're not making me go.

I'm driving this thing, man, and you just so happen to be a person that's in the way that's, you know, to be a person that's in the way that's, you know, that may get demolished in the process.

Kobe's got 57.

Sixty-seven points!

Yes!

That makes seventy.

And an 81-point game!

Ladies and Gentlemen, you have witnessed the second-greatest scoring performance in NBA history.

Some people sit there and say, "Y'all keep talking about Kobe

"being the greatest player in the game today.

"Y'all don't realize that Kobe trying to be arguably the greatest ever." arguably the greatest ever."

Your response?

I gotta get a couple more rings.

Mmm-hmm.

Are you going to?

You know what?

I won't rest until we do.

I wanted to prove to myself that I could win under, you know, a different role, so to speak.

Looking at these incredible teams that have been assembled, and there's always a dynamic duo.

And when that duo went separate ways, one was never able to win without the other.

One was never able to win without the other.

And I just felt like it was really important for myself, as well as for the challenge from others, just to prove that I can lead this team my way.

I can put my DNA on the team and carry them to a championship.

The buzz is back in Boston.

Celtics fans have waited 21 years for this moment, a chance to play for their 17th championship.

But look who's standing in the way, the NBA's MVP, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

The NBA's MVP, Kobe Bryant and the Lakers.

The greatest rivalry in the history of the sport is ready for its next chapter.

Kobe's led the league in scoring, he's won all-star MVPs, he's won championships.

But he's different this year, Magic.

What's the best advice you gave him before the season?

Well, I pulled him aside and said, "Hey, if you wanna be considered like Michael Jordan, "you have to now make your teammates better, "you have to become a better leader, "and then you have to trust your teammates."

He's taken the guys out to dinner three or four times this year.

He never did that before.

No, never did that before.

Look at him now.

That's why they're in the championships.

That's why they're in the championships.

Gets inside, and the finish.

We weren't naturally assholes.

We ran into a team that was, though.

They were just much, much tougher, much meaner, much nastier.

And they whooped us pretty good.

After a 22-year absence, After a 22-year absence, the Boston Celtics are NBA Champions once again.

I overcompensated for how I drove my teammates.

It was, um, thinking maybe I was too hard on them, and so, throughout the course of the year, I didn't challenge them enough.

It was just about not being as gregarious, It was just about not being as gregarious, putting my arm around you even when you fuck up, "Oh, you're doing great, you're doing great."

That's just not me.

Kobe, you won the MVP, you led the team to the finals.

How do you characterize this season?

Well, I mean, the goal was to win a championship.

It wasn't to win MVP or anything like that.

It was to win a championship, so from that aspect, we failed.

So from that aspect, we failed.

If I'm gonna go down, I'm gonna go down my way and leading my way.

And this team is gonna have my personality, they're gonna have my grit.

They're gonna have my fight, they're gonna have my will and my competitive spirit.

So, when we step on that basketball court, you're not facing me and just my competitive fire, but you're facing, you know, twelve of those.

How do I get that done?

For me, it is that ferocity or that anger, rage, and I can carry that with me.

Now, I have to instill this to the rest of my guys and to the rest of my teammates.

Using the darker emotions, the anger or resentment or frustration and sadness and using that as a weapon, sadness and using that as a weapon, using that as a form of offense.

It's a scar.

It's pain.

It's a bad memory.

Some people are probably afraid to tap into that side of them, but it's such a powerful thing.

Because once they own it themselves, then the sky is the limit because they're going to drive themselves and pull it from who they are and all of their life experiences and things that have motivated them.

And things that have motivated them.

I just started driving them, needling them.

Right?

Pushing them.

The smoke has cleared and two remain standing.

The Lakers and Magic tipping off the '09 NBA Finals in L.A.

Kobe Bryant as focused as I have ever seen him in his entire career.

You talk about a guy with one mindset, You talk about a guy with one mindset, that's to win.

Pau.

Yo. What's up?

Ready?

Bryant looks inside, finds Gasol.

Gasol... count it!

They had to embrace the villain nature that's in all of us.

It gave them a platform to unleash.

Another steal. Odom to Gasol, back to Odom.

Up and under and banks in.

What a run for the Lakers.

What a run for the Lakers.

...spins it away.

Beautiful pass. Gasol!

Right-hand dunk.

87-84.

Derek Fisher with another clutch 3!

The buzzer sounds, it's official:

The Lakers are NBA Champions once again.

Congratulations, Kobe Bryant, your fourth NBA Championship.

How are you different as a man and a player than you were seven years ago, the last time you won a championship?

I think you just get better, you just grow as a person, you grow as a man, and, you know, you just try to figure out the best way to lead these guys.


The most storied NBA rivalry, renewed:

The Lakers and Celtics.

Kobe Bryant, hungry for title number five, personally, Kobe Bryant, hungry for title number five, personally, but number sixteen for his franchise.

The Lakers have kind of played flag football.

They better get ready for tackle football tonight because the Boston Celtics are gonna hit them.

How are the Lakers going to react?

Pierce and Artest already battling.

It took 27 seconds for these two to go at it a bit.

The proposition of losing to these guys in the finals again and knowing what that means as a Laker fan and having watched Jerry West lose to the Celtics over and over and over again over and over and over again and the duel between Magic and Bird, and now I am part of this incredible rivalry and what's gonna be said about us, this team, is that we lost to the Celtics twice.

I don't think so.


Artest, that's a 3.

Bam!

Lakers by six with a minute to play!

The Lakers win back-to-back titles!

The L.A. Lakers are the 2010 NBA Champions.

After we did that, we have a bond now that unites us forever.

That unites us forever.

Forever.

We have a bond that'll never be broken because...

the lion looked us in the face, and we looked back.


The challenge was not only to win one, but it was to win multiple wins and to be able to sit at the same lunch table with my muses, Michael, Magic.

I wanna be able to sit down at the same table with them and belong there.

And I'm very proud to be able to say I can do that.

I do think with Kobe there is a whole lot of pride in it, just as there's pride in a lot of players, but that if his level dips, and he's just another guy, eh, I don't think he wants any part of that at all.


Ah!


It's constant stretching, it's constant ice baths, it's constant modalities and massage and eating the right things, drinking the right things.

Drinking the right things.

It's a lifestyle, you know?

It's a full-time commitment.

And, you know, I'm no spring chicken.

You know?

But that's okay.

I can figure my way around it.


This is going to be, for all intents and purposes, the first time we have seen Kobe Bryant since tearing the Achilles.

This is, hopefully, the foundation for Kobe moving forward, recovering from that injury, and as he will tell you, he is stoked out of his mind to be there.

I can feel energy in the building, the sounds of the cameras flashing, the smell, the popcorn, the smell, the popcorn, the sounds of people walking around, preparing for the game.

You can feel the intensity in the air.

Whoo!

There's an energy that you can tap into, like a frequency that you can tap into.

What time is it?

Game time!

Whoo!

And once you feel it, then everything becomes you then everything becomes you and you become everything.

And the other guard, here's number 24.

Six-six, 19 seasons, from Lower Merion High School...

Kobe Bryant.

I love what I do.

It's as simple as that.

There's...

I get so much enjoyment from it.

The game has made me a better man, a better husband, a better father, a better husband, a better father, you know, a better friend, you know, a better teacher.

It's helped me figure out who I am.

Hes been my confidante, he's been my best friend, psychiatrist, everything.

It's the seed that started everything for me.

Everything grew from this ball.

Everything grew from this ball.

In his 19th year in the NBA, that man right there, Kobe Bryant, stands at 32,291 points, one behind Michael Jordan for third all-time on the scoring list.

The crowd on its feet.

Step aside, MJ, the Mamba has moved right on by you.

Kobe Bryant has passed Michael Jordan, and is now number three on the NBA's all-time scoring list.

As I sit here now, when I take off my shoe and I look down at my scar, I see beauty in it because I see all the hard work, all the sacrifices.

I see the journey that it took to get back to this point of being healthy.

And I see the beauty in that struggle.

That's what makes it beautiful.

Kobe! Don't ya know, as he goes base line.

Wow, yeah, that right arm.

It's just there.

That's on his shooting shoulder.

But it's just a sore right shoulder is what the Lakers are calling it.

Kobe has gone back to the locker room with the help of Ryan, and that will be the topic of conversation throughout the next day or so...

Let's see what kind of strength you have here.

Go ahead and slip that off.

That's where the damage is to your cuff.

Let me see you raise it to the side.

Don't let me rotate it down, resist me.

Any pain?

Uh-uh.

And keep your elbow pointed out towards me.

Now, I wanna feel how much pressure you can put.

Push in on your arm, good.

All right. Good, good, good.

All right. Good, good, good.

Okay.

This dark area here, that's the rotator cuff cable.

It's not attaching to bone here.

So, there's only direction that this tear's gonna go.

It's gonna get worse.

This is not gonna get better.

This tear's a pretty big tear already.

Your normal daily function, you know, aside from basketball, you know, raising your arm, doing activities of daily living, certainly lifting, lifting your kids, you know, playing around, you know, playing around, that sort of thing with the arm in this position is gonna get tougher.

I think that this is gonna need to be fixed because it will cause a problem for you.

And we like to try to fix these things when you're younger and the tear is smaller.

And what's best for your shoulder is to get is fixed soon.

Oh, my God, I just don't know if I wanna deal with another fucking nine months of some shit.

No, I know.

I know, and it seems that, you know, with the way your injuries have happened, with the way your injuries have happened, your... the second part of your season and your off-season has been dominated by rehab and...

At what point do you feel like you're holding on, holding on, holding on to something that's not there?

At what point do your determination and your drive.

At what point do your determination and your drive become unreasonable?

Or something that's just not possible?


When do you know?

Like, when does that moment happen when you know now is the time to let go, this is the moment to walk away?

Do you ever truly know that?

I mean, I don't think, I don't know if you do.

I don't know if there's ever a moment which is the right moment.

I don't know if that moment ever comes.


Who determines when it's up for you?

When we say, "This cannot be accomplished, "this cannot be done," then we are shortchanging ourselves.

My brain, it cannot process failure.

It will not process failure because if I have to--

If I sit there and have to face myself and tell myself, you know, and tell myself, you know, "You're a failure,"

I think that's a worse--

That's almost worse than death.


Your love is bright as ever

Even in the shadows

Baby, kiss me

Before they turn the lights out

Your heart is glowing

And I'm crashing into you

Baby, kiss me ♪

Before they turn the lights out

Before they turn the lights out

Baby, love me lights out

In the darkest night hour

I search through the crowd

Your face is all that I see

I'll give you everything

Baby, love me lights out