Hoops star Dwyane Wade remembers Kobe Bryant as a “big brother” figure to members of the U.S. Men’s Olympic Basketball squad that competed for gold at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing. The story of how that special group of players attempted to avenge a devastating loss at the 2004 Games in Athens is told in the new Netflix documentary The Redeem Team, executive produced by Wade.
“One of the things that for me was very important was how we told Kobe Bryant’s story throughout this, in the midst of the team story,” Wade said as he introduced the film at a special screening at Netflix’s new Tudum Theater in Hollywood. “To me, that was a very sensitive moment at that time, but a beautiful arc, a beautiful story.”
Jon Weinbach (The Last Dance) directed the film, which premieres globally on Netflix on October 7. It explores how, in the wake of the loss to Argentina in 2004, oversight of Team USA became the responsibility of highly-respected former Phoenix Suns owner Jerry Colangelo. He hired Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski to coach the team and then Coach K assembled a roster that included Wade, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, Chris Paul, Dwight Howard, and other young talents. Krzyzewski saw a vital need for a veteran star to anchor the team, and brought in Bryant, then the NBA’s premiere player.
Wade said the film “shines a light on [Bryant] our leader at that time,” referencing the fact that Greece had beaten Team USA at the World Championships in 2006, another demoralizing defeat that sowed doubt about the team’s prospects in Beijing.
“A lot of us know that we lost a couple of years [earlier] and our big brother had to come and save us – is probably what Kobe told everybody,” Wade joked. “It was a beautiful journey.”
Bryant, his daughter Gianna and seven others were killed in a helicopter crash near Los Angeles in 2020. Archive video in The Redeem Team shows how Bryant melded with James and Wade and other teammates who possessed immense ability but were not as seasoned as him. The documentary also shows how the experience of joining the 2008 Olympic squad transformed Bryant from someone who appeared to keep his distance from other basketball superstars into a true team player.
“This is one of the best basketball stories that has been told,” Wade told the audience that included Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, Lisa Nishimura, VP independent film & documentary features, fellow Redeem Team member Howard, NFL analyst and former gridiron star Shannon Sharpe, and others. Wade gave a shoutout to his Olympic teammates, the coaches and Colangelo. “Hopefully, the world can learn a lot from the story of watching a group of people from different walks of life come together and accomplish something, have one common goal and accomplish that goal together, and put all our differences aside and our egos aside.”
In the video above, Wade is joined on stage by producer Gregg Groggel (L) and director Jon Weinbach.