Kobe Bryant Kicks Off Post-NBA Life With Time Inc. Partnership

SI.com will create an animated film based on the NBA star’s retirement poem

Kobe Bryant's last game
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Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group and NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s new production company, Kobe Studios, announced a partnership Thursday that will offer the now-former Lakers superstar multiple media platforms to break into his post-NBA career.

The collaboration detailed at the media company’s Newfront presentation includes SI.com animated short film “Dear Basketball,” based on Bryant’s retirement poem, as well as a series of exclusive SI Films mini documentaries taking viewers behind the scenes of the animation process. “Dear Basketball” will premiere in this fall.

Famed animator Glen Keane, who has worked on “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast,” will oversee production. John Williams, who has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in history, including “Jaws,” “Superman,” “E.T.,” “Jurassic Park” and “Star Wars,” will provide the musical backdrop.

“‘Dear Basketball’ is the perfect tribute to something I’ve loved for so long. Glen and John are two legends in their industries, so to partner with them on the creative process is a dream come true,” said Bryant. “Working with Sports Illustrated on this special project is an amazing opportunity to hopefully inspire fans all over the world.”

The partnership with Bryant isn’t the only big announcement from the Time Inc. event. The company also announced plans for ad-supported over-the-top (OTT) network from People and Entertainment Weekly, revealed that the iconic LIFE brand will be the centerpiece of the company’s virtual reality efforts and previewed its all-video, mobile-first brand devoted to today’s “new famous.”

Jenna Bush Hager will team up with Southern Living for “Southern in the City,” EW will partner with documentarian Morgan Spurlock to launch a new long-form documentary series, and the People and EW editorial director will have intimate conversations with major stars on “The Jess Cagle Interview.”

“Today’s showcase represents Time Inc.’s ongoing momentum and unlimited potential. We have a collection of some of the world’s most popular media brands that appeal to millions and we can push them even further,” Time Inc. Entertainment & Sports Group and Video president Rich Battista said.