Time Inc.’s Sports Illustrated Group, Kobe Bryant’s Kobe Studios and Believe Entertainment Group Announce Exclusive Multi-Platform Development Project around Dear Basketball, Bryant’s Epic Homage to the Game
Dear Basketball Animated Short Film to Premiere on SI.com;
SI Films Documents Making of Short Film Directed by World-Renowned Animator Glen Keane,
Music by Academy Award Winning Composer John Williams
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Time Inc.’s (NYSE:TIME) Sports Illustrated Group and NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s new production company, Kobe Studios, along with Believe Entertainment Group, announced an exclusive multi-platform video production and development project devoted to Dear Basketball, Bryant’s poetic tribute to the game. The collaboration includes the world premiere of Dear Basketball the animated short film on SI.com as well as a series of exclusive SI Films mini documentaries taking viewers behind the scenes of the animation process. Dear Basketball is targeted to premiere in the fall on SI.com.
Bryant’s retirement poem, “Dear Basketball,” reverberated across the Internet and has been analyzed by renowned poets, professors and scholars alike. It was originally published on The Players’ Tribune, which will also help promote the project. Dear Basketball, the animated short film, will be narrated by Bryant and will be visually brought to life in a new and compelling way. Glen Keane, the iconic and prolific animator behind such classic animated features as Aladdin, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Tarzan and Tangled, will helm the production. Five-time Academy Award-winning composer John Williams, who has composed some of the most popular and recognizable film scores in cinematic history—including Jaws, Superman, the Indiana Jones series, E.T., Jurassic Park, the Harry Potter films and Star Wars—will provide the musical backdrop to this animated ode to sport.
“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."
Bryant gave rare and exclusive access to Sports Illustrated for the project, speaking openly about what Dear Basketball means to him, how it all came together and what he has learned from the creation process. The Dear Basketball collaboration will come to life across SI Group platforms, including video and text reports and interviews with Bryant and other key players in this unique production along with the animated short film to stream on SI.com. In addition, SI, Kobe Studios and Believe Entertainment Group will co-host a red carpet premiere event to celebrate Dear Basketball.
“We are proud to collaborate with Kobe to tell the comprehensive story of his first endeavor after retiring from the NBA in a way that only SI can,” said Rich Battista, President of the Time Inc. Entertainment and Sports Group and Video. “We are excited for Kobe’s fans and the global community of sport, entertainment and art enthusiasts to experience these productions.”
"We’re honored to partner with Sports Illustrated for the launch of this amazing animated short film and to work with them on a making of series that will reach a global audience across its platforms. The chance to partner with Kobe at this time is an incredibly compelling business and content opportunity for Believe,” said Dan Goodman, co-founder, Believe Entertainment Group.
ABOUT TIME INC.
Time Inc. (NYSE:TIME) is one of the world's leading media companies, with a monthly global print audience of over 120 million and worldwide digital properties that attract more than 150 million visitors each month, including over 60 websites. Our influential brands include People, Sports Illustrated, InStyle, Time, Real Simple and Southern Living, as well as more than 50 diverse titles in the United Kingdom.
ABOUT KOBE STUDIOS
Kobe Studios is a division of Kobe Inc, which was formed by NBA Legend Kobe Bryant in 2013. Kobe Inc. is a multi-media content creation company focused on helping athletes maximize their full potential and teaching the process of excellence. Kobe Studios’ first project, Kobe Bryant’s Muse, debuted on Showtime in February 2015, and in China in August 2015 via a partnership with the Alibaba Group. Bryant served as creator and executive producer on the film. Kobe Inc. is headquartered in Newport Beach, CA.
ABOUT BELIEVE ENTERTAINMENT GROUP
Believe Entertainment Group is a New York City-based digital entertainment company producing high-profile content in partnership with elite talent and leading brands through a variety of digital outlets such as web, mobile, VOD and social media. Believe Entertainment Group has launched a steady stream of recent projects including: The LeBrons, an original, animated web series with two-time NBA champion and four-time league MVP LeBron James, on Xbox LIVE (the-lebrons.com); In the Booth, a documentary-style series with DJ/Producer Tiësto (youtube.com/Tiesto); Money Where Your Mouth Is, a new, original game show series hosted by comedian, actor, radio host and author, Jay Mohr, that was ranked the top game show of Winter 2013-14 on Hulu and Hulu Plus; Inspired: by Sabrina, a new women’s lifestyle show hosted by HGTV star Sabrina Soto; and @EpicEDM, a new, ongoing original content series featuring top electronic dance music (EDM) artists, festivals and clubs worldwide that is the first studio-originated content series designed specifically for the Twitter platform. The company’s studio division develops and produces digital-first original series for OTT and digital distribution partners (including Maker Studios, People/Time Inc., Mashable, New York Post and Haven Home Media, a division of Reader's Digest Association) and develops and produces premium branded entertainment programs exclusively for individual brands, including the original animated series with Marriott International, Hot Shoppe. Believe Entertainment Group is led by co-founders Dan Goodman and William H. Masterson III. The company signed an investment deal with ITV plc in 2014.