Kobe Bryant’s Homelessness Web Series, ‘Mission,’ Tells Life Stories Of LA’s Skid Row


Kathleen Miles is the executive editor and cofounder of Noema Magazine. She can be reached on Twitter at @mileskathleen.

Around the corner from LA’s Staple Center, where Lakers star Kobe Bryant is getting paid $27.8 million this year to make his moves on the court, Angelenos are sleeping in cardboard boxes.

Which is why Bryant walked a few blocks east of the stadium over the summer to create a web series about homelessness in LA. The five-part series, titled “Mission,” was released Wednesday and was created in partnership with TakePart TV, the new impact-driven channel recently launched by Participant Media. Watch all five episodes in the slideshow below.

In the “Mission” episode above, Bryant visits Skid Row and listens to the story of a man who was abused, along with his mother, by his stepfather. The man shares that the day before he turned two years old, his stepfather held his hands in hot water, leaving them severely scarred from third-degree burns.

“You grow up in a family, whether it’s your mother or your father or both, they’re hugging you, telling you what you can accomplish,” Bryant reflects. “You don’t realize how damaging it is for a kid to not have that.”

This web series is a part of Bryant’s ongoing effort to fight homelessness in LA County, which is home to about 254,000 homeless individuals — more than any other city in the U.S.

In September, the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation completed renovation of My Friend’s Place, a drop-in center for homeless youth in Hollywood. Bryant will also be the honorary chair for “HomeWalk in LA” on Nov. 17. You can sign up to join Kobe’s team here.

“There has to be something else bigger than just yourself and what you leave out on the basketball court. You have to use that to affect change and affect change in a serious way,” Bryant said in “Mission.”