ESPN 30 for 30 Films 2012 Schedule: Dates, Times, Documentary & Director Guide

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistOctober 1, 2012

Canadian sprinter Ben Johnson (second from left) wins the final of the 100 Metres event at Seoul Olympic Stadium during the Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, 24th September 1988. Johnson won the event in a world record time of 9.79 seconds, but was disqualified for doping, with Carl Lewis (far right) of the USA, taking the title. (Photo by Mike Powell/Getty Images)
Mike Powell/Getty Images

Finally, ESPN's fantastic "30 For 30" documentary season returns this fall.

Alongside a full slate of short films that will appear monthly on Grantland, "30 For 30" returns with several full-length features that promise to be illuminating, fascinating and informative for sports fans. If the first series of films is any indication, these will be must-watch documentaries.

With the first film set to debut on Tuesday, let's take a quick look at the documentaries premiering this fall, along with a full schedule to follow so you don't have to miss a single one.

Film and Director Guide


Broke is about precisely what you've probably already surmised it is about—how and why many professional athletes end up losing all of their money despite making so much of it during their playing careers. Given Vince Young's recent and well-publicized financial woes, it's particularly relevant. 

Director Billy Corben (The U, Cocaine Cowboys, Limelight) spoke to several ex-athletes for the film, including Keith McCants, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, in an effort to chronicle how so many athletes end up going broke. 

For more, check out the Broke page at ESPN.


This film looks back on the 100-meter final in the 1988 Seoul Games, famous for being the first time four men ran the race faster than 10 seconds, but also for gold medalist Ben Johnson being stripped of his achievement after failing a drug test. His rival—American Carl Lewis—was given the gold instead.

Director Daniel Gordon tracked down the eight men who ran in that race in an effort to not only look back at the monumental event, but to use it to examine a deeper issue in sport today—the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs. The race in Seoul was the sporting world's introduction to doping, and the practice continues to this day.

For more on Gordon and the film, check out the 9.79* page at ESPN.

There's No Place Like Home

ESPN has a neat and tidy summary of this film, so we'll go ahead and let them do the heavy lifting here:

On December 10, 2010, Sotheby's auctioned off what could be considered the most important historical document in sports history—James Naismith's original rules of basketball. "There's No Place Like Home" is the story of one man's fanatical quest to win this seminal American artifact at auction and bring the rules "home" to Lawrence, Kansas, where Naismith coached and taught for over 40 years.

For more on directors Maura Mandt and Josh Swade, check out the There's No Place Like Home page at ESPN.


Benji chronicles the life of Ben Wilson, an extremely talented basketball prospect who was murdered in Chicago in 1984 at the age of 17. The film also delves into how his death helped to unify Chicago's gang-warring city at the time, and directors Coodie Simmons and Chike Ozah hope it will cause a few folks out there to think twice before pulling the trigger.

For more on Benji and its directors, be sure to check out its page at ESPN.

Ghosts of Ole Miss

Based on Wright Thompson's story "The Ghosts of Mississippi," Ghosts of Ole Miss examines the integration of the football team by James Meredith at the University of Mississippi. It's not secret that football is a second religion for many in the South, and the integration of the football team was a critical moment in the Civil Rights movement in the state. 

For more on director Fritz Mitchell and the film, be sure to check out the Ghosts of Ole Miss page at ESPN.

You Don't Know Bo

ESPN has another concise preview of this film, so we'll let the Worldwide Leader take it away:

A close look at the legendary sports figure Bo Jackson and the role of the athlete in the pop cultural conversation. Even without winning a Super Bowl or World Series, Bo will forever be known as one of the most famous athletes of all time. This film will look at the myths and legends that surround Bo Jackson, and how his seemingly impossible feats captured our collective imagination.

For more on director Michael Bonfiglio and the film—you guessed it—check out the You Don't Know Bo page at ESPN.


(Note: All times Eastern. Debut showing in italics.)

Date Time Film Network
Tuesday, October 2 8 p.m. Broke ESPN
Wednesday, October 3 1 a.m.  Broke ESPN2
Tuesday, October 9 8 p.m. 9.79* ESPN
Tuesday, October 9 9:30 p.m. 9.79* ESPN2
Wednesday, October 10 7:30 p.m. 9.79* ESPN2
Friday, October 12 1:30 a.m. 9.79* ESPN
Sunday, October 14 9 p.m.  9.79* ESPN2
Monday, October 15 8 p.m. 9.79* ESPN2
Tuesday, October 16 8 p.m. There's No Place Like Home ESPN
Wednesday, October 17 1 a.m. There's No Place Like Home ESPN2
Wednesday, October 17 11 p.m. There's No Place Like Home ESPN2
Monday, October 22 8 p.m. There's No Place Like Home ESPN2
Tuesday, October 23 8 p.m. Benji ESPN
Wednesday, October 24 9 p.m. Benji ESPN2
Wednesday, October 24 10:30 p.m. Broke ESPN2
Tuesday, October 30, 8 p.m. Ghosts of Ole Miss ESPN
Saturday, November 3 6 a.m. Ghosts of Ole Miss ESPN2
Saturday, November 3 7 a.m. Benji ESPN2
Saturday, December 8 9 p.m. You Don't Know Bo ESPN

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    Iconic Sports Illustrated Writer Deford Dies at Age 78

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    Iconic Sports Illustrated Writer Deford Dies at Age 78

    Tyler Conway
    via Bleacher Report