Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant and Lakers management reportedly authorized a documentary film crew during his season-long retirement tour in 2015-2016.

A similar all-access documentary crew was granted by Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls in his last season in 1997-1998. The documentary titled "The Last Dance," is now showing on ESPN and Netflix.

Kobe Bryant and the Lakers apparently allowed a similar documentary film crew to take insider footage of the Lakers organization and Bryant in his last season as an NBA player. Bryant played for the Lakers in all of his 20 years as a professional player.

It is no secret that Bryant admired Michael Jordan. Known as the Black Mamba, he used the Jordan template to mature his style of play. Jordan himself said that only Bryant ever came close to him. In his speech during Kobe's "Celebration of Life" tribute, Michael Jordan affectionately called Kobe Bryant, his "annoying little brother" who would do anything to succeed in his life and career. This includes calling Jordan at 3 a.m. to ask about basketball. Kobe himself confirmed the incident during an interview by ESPN on the subject.

Both players were coached by the same man, Phil Jackson. Jackson was the head coach of the Chicago Bulls from 1989 to 1998, covering much of Jordan's playing career. He coached the Los Angeles Lakers from 1999 to 2004, and again from 2005 to 2011, also covering much of Bryant's career as a player.

So, it doesn't come as a surprise that Kobe and the Lakers are looking into creating a "The Last Dance" kind of tribute released sometime in the future. The NBA is currently on hiatus and the league is desperately looking for content to recoup broadcasting rights revenue. A documentary might be seen as an option to produce interesting content.

Bryant died early in 2020 in an accidental helicopter crash. His death shocked the world, even those outside the basketball community. According to Bleacher Report, the film crew had unprecedented access to gather footage, but the documentary timeline for release is "unlikely" to change due to Bryant's death.

Kobe Bryant memorial
Fans arrive to attend the "Celebration of Life for Kobe and Gianna Bryant" service at Staples Center in Downtown Los Angeles on February 24, 2020 Photo: AFP / Mark RALSTON