The last athlete to have his own documentary is Russell Westbrook. Westbrook was once involved in film production with a Tulsa Massacre documentary series and a basketball movie in the Crenshaw neighborhood of Los Angeles, but now he’s going to be the subject. Showtime and Religion of Sports announced on Wednesday that they have a new documentary on Westbrook (seen above at a press conference in July following his trade with the Los Angeles Lakers) which will premiere on Showtime at 9pm. p.m. ET / PT on October 15, and will also be available on their on-demand and streaming platforms from then on. Here is more than one version:
SHOWTIME Sports Documentary Films announced PASSION PLAY: RUSSELL WESTBROOK, an intensely personal examination of one of the most dynamic and complex figures in professional sport. The documentary, which extends Showtime Networks’ successful partnership with Religion of Sports (KOBE BRYANT’S MUSE, SHUT UP AND DRIBBLE), will premiere Friday, October 15 at 9 p.m. ET / PT on SHOWTIME and will be available across the board. network on demand and streaming platforms at first.
… “I am proud to share this documentary and give audiences a taste of who I really am on and off the pitch,” said Westbrook. “There are a lot of misconceptions about me, but I’m ready to share my story and my journey with my fans.”
“The character attributed to Russell Westbrook, and what viewers will learn from this film, are very different,” said Stephen Espinoza, president, sports and events programming, Showtime Networks Inc. “PASSION PLAY untangles the thread that has been woven and reveals the motivation and drive of a fierce competitor. We are proud to add Russell’s story to a series of titles highlighting contemporary and culturally relevant superstars telling their stories – in their words – in the library SHOWTIME Sports Documentary Films. “
… “When we started this project with Russell Westbrook in the fall of 2019 and attended his first game with the Houston Rockets, we were all literally living in a different world,” said Gotham Chopra. “Two years later – three teams later for Russell – I can say that there is no one I would have preferred to ride this roller coaster with than Russ. Unlike the personality that has been painted about him, he is one of the most sharp, dynamic, caring, creative, and driven people I have ever met and collaborated with, and I am delighted to share this true version of him with the world through this movie. “
The film will be co-directed by Chopra, co-founder of Religion of Sports (who has been the director of several of their series to date, including the ongoing series Simone against herself) and ROS Creative Director Erik LeDrew. It is produced by Westbrook and Donnell Beverly (who previously worked with Westbrook on Burning tulsa). Meg Cirillo of ROS was also a producer, while Raynard Westbrook and Rob Ford were co-producers.
According to this version, Passion game will feature rare footage and in-depth interviews from Westbrook, as well as interviews with former teammates including Kevin Love and Nick Collison. It will be interesting to see how that plays out, as Westbrook has been the subject of a lot of criticism over the years, and perhaps more than anything Religion of Sports has brought to light to date. We will see what he has to say in this film.
[Photo from Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports]