ESPN today announced it is teaming up with NBA great Kobe Bryant to present "Canvas" - a special new content initiative, which will debut on Christmas, Sunday, Dec. 25, during the 2 p.m. ET edition of "NBA Countdown" on ABC, which precedes the Warriors-Cavaliers NBA finals rematch at 2:30 p.m.
Bryant, the five-time NBA Champion and Los Angeles Laker, will serve as the creator, director and writer for six short video presentations, each focused on an NBA on-court topic, through the eyes of Bryant. The first "Canvas" piece, titled "Guarding the Greats," will focus on how to approach guarding elite NBA players.
"Canvas: Guarding the Greats" debuts on Christmas day. The "NBA Countdown" team - Michelle Beadle, Earvin "Magic Johnson," Jalen Rose and Chauncey Billups - will provide analysis on the topic during the show. Bryant will also voice a Spanish-language version of the piece, which will air on ESPN Deportes during the network's Christmas NBA coverage at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. There will be five additional Canvas pieces, which will air throughout the remainder of the 2016-17 NBA season, including those tied to marquee regular-season match-ups on ESPN and ABC, the NBA Playoffs and the NBA Finals.
Kevin Wildes, ESPN vice president, original content: "Kobe is one of the most important athletes of the past 20 years, known for his brilliant basketball mind equally as much as his spellbinding athleticism. These videos, which are more like short films, mirror the unique approach Kobe took to the game of basketball. We're eager for the fans to see his thought process come to life in video form."
Docen Media is a multi-media content creation company focused on developing sports stories across a variety of platforms. The company is a division of Kobe Inc, which was formed by Bryant in 2013 to inform and inspire athletes around the world. Kobe Inc.'s first project, the documentary "Kobe Bryant's Muse," debuted on Showtime in February 2015. Bryant served as creator and executive producer on the film.