Spike Lee and Colin Kaepernick are teaming up with ESPN to tackle the life and career of the activist and former NFL player.
Seated together court side at Madison Square Garden for tonight’s New York Knicks match-up against the Memphis Grizzlies, the duo have started production on the docuseries for the Disney-owned sports cabler. Unlike Netflix’s acclaimed mixed genre coming of age Colin in Black & White last year, from Kaepernick and Ava DuVernay, the Lee helmed project is the first unscripted deep dive into the ex-San Francisco 49er’s saga from his own POV.
A long-time supporter of the unsigned quarterback who has been shunned by the NFL after Kaepernick took a knee in 2016 during the national anthem as a protest against police violence and social injustice, Lee will produce the project with ESPN Films through his 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks. Kaepernick will also produce along with Atlantic journalist Jemele Hill.
The docuseries was first announced on July 6, 2020 when Kaepernick inked an overall first-look deal with The Walt Disney Company via his Ra Vision Media. “I am excited to announce this historic partnership with Disney across all of its platforms to elevate Black and Brown directors, creators, storytellers, and producers, and to inspire the youth with compelling and authentic perspectives,” Kaepernick said last summer when the House of Mouse deal was made public. “I look forward to sharing the docuseries on my life story, in addition to many other culturally impactful projects we are developing.”
Of course, deftly promoted from MSG this evening, the collaboration between Kaepernick and Lee is far from the Oscar winner’s first ESPN rodeo. Back in 2009, Lee helmed the documentary Kobe Doin’ Work, about one day in the life of LA Lakers’ Kobe Bryant in the 2007-2008 NBA season. Just last year, Knicks diehard Lee directed and was seen in the broadcast opens for the 2021 NBA Finals presented by YouTube TV.
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