Top Five ESPN 30 for 30 Documentaries
ESPN decided to celebrate its 30-year anniversary in a special way.
ESPN announced it was creating a new series “ESPN 30 for 30” that would highlight untold sport’s stories during the past 30 years.
The 30 documentaries would be told by 30 different directors who all were connected to the stories being told.
To date, ESPN has aired 17 of the 30 stories. Each one has been more eye-opening than the next.
But like all things in life, someone has got to be “the best”
Here is the list of the Top 5 ESPN 30 for 30 to date.
5. Run Ricky Run
Aired April 27, 2010
“Run Ricky Run” tells the story of arguably the most interesting professional athlete ever.
Ricky Williams had no trouble battling defenders on the football field. But this running back could not escape his demons off the field.
Directed by Sean Pamphilon and Royce Toni, the film takes the audience into the mind of this troubled athlete searching for peace.
The film focuses on Ricky’s sudden departure from the NFL in 2004 and his marijuana-induced search for purpose in life.
The film attempts to tell the entire story of an athlete who appeared to be on top of the world, but couldn’t have been further from it.
4. Without Bias
Aired November 3, 2009
“Without Bias” tells the tragic story of Len Bias’ death 48 hours after being selected as the No. 2 overall pick in the 1986 NBA Draft.
The talented University of Maryland forward was selected by the defending NBA Champion Boston Celtics with the 2nd overall pick.
Bias was supposed to be the perfect complement to the aging Celtic lineup of Bird, McHale and Parish.
In the minds of fans, Bias would guarantee that the Celtics would remain title contenders even after the “Big Three” retired.
It was not meant to be.
Kirk Fraser’s film tells the heartbreaking story of a young man who hit the jackpot, but was taken away before he could reap the benefits.
3. Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
Aired March 14, 2010
In the 1990’s, there was no greater rivalry in the NBA than the Indiana Pacers and New York Knicks.
Between 1993 and 2000, the two teams played each other six times in the NBA playoffs. Three of those times were in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Both teams were filled with all-stars, but none of them played a more crucial role in the rivalry than Reggie Miller.
Dan Klores’s film focuses on Reggie’s impact on the rivalry and how he became the most hated man in New York City.
The film takes a closer look at Reggie’s relationship with superfan Spike Lee and the famous Game 1 of the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
2. The Two Escobars
Aired June 22, 2010
Jeff and Michael Zimbalist’s film is by far the most chilling of all the ESPN 30 for 30 documentaries.
The film tells the story of two men with the same last name but no family relation.
One was a drug dealer and the other was a soccer player. Both of their passions in life was Colombian soccer.
“The Two Escobars” explains the men’s involvement in the rise of Colombian soccer and the events that would lead to both of their murders.
1. The U
Aired December 12, 2009
The city of Miami in the 1980’s was dangerous.
The University of Miami football team in the 1980’s was even more dangerous.
Billy Corben’s film focuses on the University of Miami’s rise from college football obscurity to the team of the 80’s.
The Hurricanes were crowned the National Champions in 1983, 1987, and 1989 and could have one in 1986 and 1988. Some said it was the greatest dynasty since the Roman Empire.
There was no team more feared than the Canes. The Hurricanes didn’t just beat their opponents. They humiliated them. Their "kick you in the mouth" style of play and trash-talking scared white America and changed football forever.
The film tells the story of how a small private school nicknamed “Suntan U” was able to turn the college football world upside down, and become simply known as “The U”
Honorable Mention: No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson
Aired April 13, 2010
Steve James’s film describes how one night in a bowling alley almost ruined high schooler’s life and ripped a town in half.
Allen Iverson was the pride and joy of Hampton, VA until Valentine’s Day 1993. A brawl in a bowling alley would put the 17-year-old Iverson in the middle of a racial war.
The film shows how close Allen Iverson was to never playing basketball again and how racial issues still remain strong to this day.