‘Creed III’ inspired by Kobe Bryant and ‘girl dads,’ says Michael B. Jordan

Jordan returns as title character Adonis Creed and also makes his directorial debut in "Creed III," opening Friday.

Loading the player...

Michael B. Jordan says that Kobe Bryant was an essential source of inspiration for “Creed III.” Jordan said that the late basketball superstar and other celebrity fathers helped mold the father-daughter relationship in the film.

Jordan, who is making his directorial debut with “Creed III,” explained Bryant’s connection during an interview with IndieWire.

“We were on the ‘Just Mercy’ tour, and Kobe Bryant hosted a screening.” Jordan said his costar in the 2019 film, Jamie Foxx, was there, and “has a strong relationship with his daughter, who was into basketball.” He added that Bryant was talking about his daughter Gianna and basketball. He said he remembers “stepping out of myself for a second, and I’m looking at these guys that I have real admiration for and hearing them talk about their daughters.”

2019 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
Vanessa Bryant and Kobe Bryant attend the Vanity Fair Oscar Party in Beverly Hills in February 2019, before the birth of their fourth daughter. The basketball legend’s devotion to his daughters was inspirational, said “Creed III” actor/director Michael B. Jordan. (Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images)

Those memories sparked Jordan’s imagination when it came time to direct “Creed III.” Jordan’s character, Adonis, has a young daughter in the film, and he said, “‘I’m pulling from all of this right now for the movie.’ I wanted to honor these kinds of relationships and what it means to be a girl dad.”
Bryant was the father of four girls. Following his and his daughter Gianna Bryant’s death in a January 2020 helicopter crash, his devotion to his daughters inspired the hashtag #girldad.

Jordan went on to say that another legendary athlete, a real-life boxer, also was an inspiring agent for the film. “Muhammad Ali was one of the models for Apollo Creed,” the father of his character. And, “of course, he has a daughter,” Jordan continued, referring to former boxer Laila Ali. He said thinking of all those relationships, he wanted to make a film that was “fresh and different.”

Jordan said that although he’s seen those close father-daughter relationships in his life, they aren’t often presented onscreen. By the end of “Creed,” he said, he knew “I wanted to have a daughter” in future installments of the franchise. As it turns out, as with Bryant and Ali, Adonis’ daughter in the film also is interested in his sport, boxing.

“Creed III” opens on Friday. It is the third installment of the boxing franchise extended from the “Rocky” film series. Tessa Thompson and Phylicia Rashad reprise their roles in the film, which features Jonathan Majors as the antagonist.

TheGrio is FREE on your TV via Apple TV, Amazon Fire, Roku and Android TV. Also, please download theGrio mobile apps today!