The ‘Greatness Code’ deciphered in Apple TV+ docuseries

‘Greatness Code’ – It’s in everyone’s DNA

“Greatness Code” is now streaming on Apple TV+.

The “Greatness Code” may indeed be about greatness but perhaps not in the parameters of how you or I would define it.

No, in the seven-part series of shorts that premiered recently on Apple TV+, all-time great athletes such as Tom Brady, LeBron James, Shaun White, Katie Ledecky and Usain Bolt tell of moments where they believe they were at the top of their game – but it wasn’t necessarily in the big game.

Gotham Chopra, the series’ director and executive producer, explains he got the idea while interviewing the late Kobe Bryant for an unrelated project.

“I was always curious about the difference between – as a fan, I think the greatest game is X … versus what do you think is your best game, like where you’ve been at your best,” he says. “And Kobe told me … it was a fairly obscure game during the regular season and … it was things he was going through off the court, things that he was sort of struggling with mentally, emotionally, whatever. And he was sort of able to battle through it and have this incredible performance.”

In the case of Brady, owner of six Super Bowl rings (and a partner with Chopra in the company that produced the series, Religion of Sports), it was a midseason contest in 2007, where he felt in perfect synch with his receivers as he threw five touchdown passes and the New England Patriots scored on every possession in a 56-10 rout of the Buffalo Bills.

“You hear this a lot from other athletes,” Chopra says, “but some sports are so much about timing and when Tom starts to talk about like, ‘It’s almost like I knew where Randy (Moss) was going or yeah, we had the sort of mind meld,’ it’s just so cool.”

For Chopra, greatness isn’t something that’s necessarily limited to the field of play. It’s a universal pursuit and experience that everyone can relate to.

“I’ve always thought of it as the anatomy of greatness …,” he says of the series. “And even the athletes will tell you it’s fleeting, like it comes and it goes. And it’s one of the things Tom says in the (series), ‘I feel like my whole career has been in pursuit of that moment again.’ And for a guy like him to say that, it’s pretty cool. So I think the goal is to inspire.”

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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