Kobe Bryant: Coming soon to a theater near you


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EXCLUSIVE: The trailers for Robert Rodriguez’s ‘The Black Mamba’ Nike short, starring Kobe Bryant, has been generating buzz online for a few weeks now (check out one of them above). It’s not every day you get to see Kobe, Kanye and Danny Trejo on the screen together -- and in an exploitation-style movie, no less. It’s basically ‘Machete’ with basketball.

Now the full short will be screened in an unlikely place: a movie theater.

Starting tomorrow and continuing for a week, filmgoers who go to a PG-13- or R-rated movie at any of the seven Mann Theatres in Los Angeles or about a dozen theaters elsewhere in the Southland (the Foothill Cinema in Azusa, the Plant 16 in Van Nuys or the Regency Rancho Niguel in Laguna, to name three) will also see the six-minute film, which of course also doubles as a Nike spot, before the feature.


The move, courtesy of the in-theater-advertising company Screenvision, is part of an effort to tap into general Lakers fandom (it’s playing only in Southern California) as well as into All-Star weekend festivities, which take place over the next several days at Staples Center. The short also will be online starting Saturday. But that’s probably not the same as seeing Kobe 30 feet tall.

It’s not the first time Nike has worked with a top-level auteur to peddle shoes: During the World Cup last year, Alejandro Gonzales Inarritu’s ‘Write the Future,’ his quick-cut soccer-themed spot (which also featured a few shots of Kobe, incidentally), became a viral sensation.

In this one, Kobe plays a nighttime hoops game on a rooftop above the city, as a ‘Grindhouse’-style voice narrates his story and the court combusts several times.

Check it out if you’re going to the movies this weekend. Depending on what February fare you’re seeing, it could be better than the feature.

--Steven Zeitchik