“ESPN the Magazine” to Release Special Issue Honoring Kobe Bryant

The special 96-page tribute will hit newsstands Friday

Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant (Allen Berezovsky/Getty Images)
Getty Images

In remembrance of Kobe Bryant, ESPN the Magazine will publish a special 96-page issue on Friday dedicated to the late Los Angeles Lakers star.

ESPN the Magazine, which shut down in September, always planned on printing a handful of commemorative issues each year and Bryant’s will be the first, according to The Sports Business Journal. 

 “We specifically limited this to be a test case to do the work, see how the process goes and see if this makes sense,” ESPN VP of storytelling and special projects Alison Overholt told the SBJ. “We’ll evaluate when and how often it makes sense to do something like this.”

In addition to memorializing the deaths of legendary like athletes like Bryant or Muhammad Ali, these special “bookazines” will cover massive sporting events like the Super Bowl or March Madness tournament. 

 “Those moments don’t come along very often,” Overholt said. “You want to be ready when they do because these are the people and personalities that change conversations and cultures.”

Featuring photographs and essays, the special-edition magazine will contain works written by ESPN personalities including Jackie MacMullan, Baxter Holmes, Ramona Shelburne, Stephen A. Smith, Rachel Nichols, Michael Wilbon and Adrian Wojnarowski.

Bryant, 41, played his entire 20-year career with the Lakers and won five NBA championships. The first game the team played after Bryant’s death, a Friday night matchup against the Portland Trailblazers in LA, drew 4.41 million viewers on ESPN, making it the second most-watched regular-season NBA game in the network’s history.

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