The NBA and Hollywood came together on Thursday at the London West Hollywood hotel to celebrate the premiere of “Kobe Bryant’s Muse,” the upcoming Showtime documentary that tells the story of the basketball icon’s career to date.
Gotham Chopra, the film’s director and son of Deepak Chopra, said that one of the coolest experiences while working on the film was watching Kobe work out in an empty gym, or watching him play in an empty Staples Center (the current home of the Los Angeles Lakers) at 3 a.m.
“It’s like watching Picasso in an empty studio,” Chopra said.
At 6’6″, Kobe Bryant towered over most everyone on the red carpet, but showed great humility when talking about this new, more forthcoming phase of his life.
“I’m just constantly curious,” Bryant said. “If you have an idea, and if you’re obsessive about what you do, I want to know why.”
Bryant, who said he was first inspired by the idea of a muse from Michael Jackson and the creation of “Thriller,” has recently spent time reaching out to industry leaders like Anna Wintour, Arianna Huffington and Oprah.
“There’s a common thread between how John Williams composes a score, and how Ariana Huffington decided to build the Huffington Post. There are common threads, and I want to learn about those things,” he said.
But Bryant emphasized that his muses don’t have to be celebrities; they just have to be the best.
“If you’re the greatest carpenter in the world, I want to know why,” he said.
While creating the documentary, Chopra noticed Bryant’s humble nature, which found to be in contrast to his on-court persona of extreme confidence, even cockiness.
“There’s this humility about him off the court, and I think as he looks down the barrel of the gun at the end of his career and the rest of his life, that humility and that curiosity is something that’s really refreshing.”
Other guests in attendance included Chopra’s father, author Deepak Chopra, luxury shoe designer Christian Louboutin, actor Andy Garcia and actor and former NBA star Rick Fox.
Fox, formerly Bryant’s teammate on the Lakers, said that Kobe’s foray into Hollywood allows him to expose sides of himself people didn’t know existed.
“I’m sure we’ll all get to be surprised tonight, even the ones who know him closely,” Fox said.
“This is not Bill Russell looking back on his career 25 years later,” said Nevins. “This is a man who’s sort of at the height of his power, going really deep with self-examination. And that is rare.”
Chopra added that since Bryant got so involved in the making of the documentary, it feels more authentic.
“This is less a film that’s on Kobe as much (as) it was a film with Kobe,” he said. “And I think that comes across.”
“Kobe Bryant’s Muse” will air on Showtime on Saturday, Feb. 28, at 9 P.M. ET/PT.
(Pictured: David Nevins, president of Showtime Networks, Vanessa Bryant, Kobe Bryant, Gotham Chopra and Stephen Espinoza, EVP and g.m. of sports and event programming, at Showtime’s exclusive screening event celebrating the premiere of “Kobe Bryant’s Muse”)