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The Inside Track

Hot Corner

June 03, 2002|Larry Stewart

A consumer's guide to the best and worst of sports media and merchandise. Ground rules: If it can be read, played, heard, observed, worn, viewed, dialed or downloaded, it's in play here. One exception: No products will be endorsed.

What: "SportsCentury: Kobe Bryant"

Where: ESPN Classic, tonight, 5 and 8

It has become apparent that documenting Kobe Bryant's life is not easy. "Beyond the Glory" had moderate success. Now "Sports Century" has learned how tightly Bryant guards his private life.

This one-hour show, which will be repeated on ESPN a week from today at 1 p.m., is worth watching. But there's not much new.

Comparisons to Michael Jordan are dealt with in the opening segment. Then comes a look at his childhood in Italy, his high school years in suburban Philadelphia, his decision to forego college, and his learning to fit in with the Lakers.

"If you didn't speak to Kobe first he may not even speak," Derek Fisher says. "And at first I was kind of taken aback by that and almost offended."

Fisher and Rick Fox offer brief perspectives, but Shaquille O'Neal is seen only talking at news conferences and Phil Jackson is seen only in old clips.

Jerry West, a willing participant in the show, says of Bryant: "What impressed me the most was his ability to articulate the reasons he wanted to play in the NBA."

Bryant says, "What I found out is that the game of basketball has really been a great teacher of life as far as unending challenges, teamwork, doing things together."

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