January 21, 2011
Grauman's Chinese Theater is one of the top landmarks in Hollywood, a place where some of the silver screen's biggest stars have forever placed their footprints and handprints in cement. Have you ever wanted to know the real shoe sizes of Cary Grant and Van Heflin? This is your chance!
Up until now, the cement was reserved for the biggest names in the history of film. However, according to the Associated Press, Kobe Bryant(notes) will become the first athlete to showcase his shoes and hands at the theater during next month's All-Star Weekend in L.A.
So what makes Kobe so deserving of the honor? A quick look at his IMDb page shows little acting experience besides playing himself on several sitcoms and making an appearance on "Moesha" as "Terry Hightower" back in the day. He certainly hasn't acted with as big a profile as Michael Jordan or Rick Fox.
The truth is that Kobe is going in the cement because of his new long-form Nike ad directed by filmmaker/cowboy hat enthusiast Robert Rodriguez. In fact, it turns out Kobe's cement probably won't even be on permanent display.
Before you hem and haw about the influence of commercialism on the theater, remember that the history of Hollywood is the tale of commerce and marketing coming together to create stars. Look at the names of most of the people in the cement permanently and you're likely to find a bunch of assumed names and non-people like Herbie the Love Bug and Darth Vader. So yes, Nike probably paid the theater a large deal of money to get Kobe this honor. But the movie studios probably did the same thing in the past for their stars, too.