30 for 30

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30 for 30
The 30 for 30 title card is styled like an old ticket stub
Logo for 30 for 30 Volume I films
Genre Sports documentary
Created by
Directed by various
Original language(s) English
No. of episodes 156
Production
Producer(s)
  • Bill Simmons
  • Connor Schell
  • John Dahl
Production company(s) ESPN Films
Release
Original network
Original release October 6, 2009 (2009-10-06) – present (present)
Chronology
Related shows
External links
Website

30 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN, its sister networks, and online highlighting interesting people and events in sports history. This includes three "volumes" of 30 episodes each, a 13-episode series under the ESPN Films Presents title in 2011–2012, and a series of 30 for 30 Shorts shown through the ESPN.com website. The series has also expanded to include Soccer Stories, which aired in advance of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and audio podcasts.

Background[edit]

The idea for the series began in 2007 from ESPN.com columnist and Grantland.com founder Bill Simmons and ESPN's Connor Schell.[1] The title, 30 for 30, derived from the series' genesis as 30 films in celebration of ESPN's 30th anniversary, with an exploration of the biggest stories from ESPN's first 30 years on-air, through a series of 30 one-hour films by 30 filmmakers.[2][3] Volume I premiered in October 2009 and ran through December 2010, chronicling 30 stories from the "ESPN era", beginning with the network's founding in 1979. Each film in Volume I details a striking sports issue or event that occurred during those three decades, including what Simmons describes as "stories that resonated at the time [they occurred] but were eventually forgotten for whatever reason."[1] Subsequent films, including Volume II and online-only shorts, expanded the series beyond the "ESPN era".

In September 2014, Schell said, "Even though we have been at this for five years now, there is no shortage of incredible moments from the world of sports, so that enables us to continue making 30 for 30 films we’re proud of."[4] In 2010, John Dahl, Connor Schell and Simmons served as 30 for 30's executive producers.[5][6][7] In April 2018, it was announced that the entire archive of 30 for 30 films and shorts would be available on ESPN+, ESPN's direct-to-consumer online platform, once the service launched on April 12, 2018.[8]

Series overview[edit]

SeriesEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
Volume I30October 6, 2009 (2009-10-06)December 11, 2010 (2010-12-11)
ESPN Films Presents13March 13, 2011 (2011-03-13)June 2, 2012 (2012-06-02)
ShortsTBAMay 15, 2012 (2012-05-15)TBA
Volume II30October 2, 2012 (2012-10-02)July 30, 2015 (2015-07-30)
Soccer Stories8April 15, 2014 (2014-04-15)July 1, 2014 (2014-07-01)
Volume III30[9]October 13, 2015 (2015-10-13)TBA

List of 30 for 30 films[edit]

Volume I[edit]

Unless otherwise noted, the following films are all 60 minutes in length (including commercials).

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
11Kings RansomPeter BergOctober 6, 2009 (2009-10-06)0.645[10]
The 1988 trade of Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings and the effect it had on Gretzky, the fans in Edmonton, and the popularity of hockey in Southern California.
22The Band That Wouldn't DieBarry LevinsonOctober 13, 2009 (2009-10-13)N/A
A profile of Baltimore's love affair with football and the Colts, focusing on the Colts Marching Band. After the Colts decamped for Indianapolis in 1984, the band remained in Baltimore and helped promote the eventual return of the NFL to the city.
33Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?Mike TollinOctober 20, 2009 (2009-10-20)N/A
Fresh interviews and archival footage track the life and demise of the United States Football League in the mid-1980s. A highlight is Tollin's interview with Donald Trump, the former New Jersey Generals owner whose post-interview comments on the league give this documentary its title.[11]
44Muhammad and LarryAlbert MayslesOctober 27, 2009 (2009-10-27)N/A
A look at the October 1980 Muhammad AliLarry Holmes fight and its impact on both fighters, featuring fresh interviews with participants and previously unseen lead-up footage from both fighters' camps.
55Without BiasKirk FraserNovember 3, 2009 (2009-11-03)N/A
The death of Len Bias from a cocaine-induced heart attack, two days after Boston selected him as the second overall pick in the 1986 NBA draft, and its impact on casual drug use, especially by the sports community.
66The Legend of Jimmy the GreekFritz MitchellNovember 10, 2009 (2009-11-10)N/A
The life of Jimmy "the Greek" Snyder, from his career as a Las Vegas bookmaker to his tenure on The NFL Today, from which he was fired in 1988.
77The UBilly CorbenDecember 12, 2009 (2009-12-12)2.368[12][13]
The racial and cultural evolution of Miami during the 1980s as represented within the University of Miami football team. (2 hours in length)
88Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York KnicksDan KloresMarch 14, 2010 (2010-03-14)N/A
The impact of Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller on the New York Knicks in the 1990s, specifically focusing on the Pacers/Knicks battles in the 1994 and 1995 NBA Playoffs and on Miller's interaction with Knicks fan Spike Lee.
99Guru of GoBill CouturiéApril 3, 2010 (2010-04-03)N/A
A profile of Paul Westhead's coaching tenure at Loyola Marymount University (1985–1990), where his Lions' team was known for its high-scoring run-and-gun offense and talented players such as Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers, who died on-court in 1990.
1010No Crossover: The Trial of Allen IversonSteve JamesApril 13, 2010 (2010-04-13)N/A
The 1993 trial of Hampton, Virginia, high school athlete Allen Iverson, convicted for his role in a racially tinged melee, and its impact on both the community and on Iverson's life. (90 minutes in length)
1111Silly Little GameAdam Kurland and Lucas JansenApril 20, 2010 (2010-04-20)N/A
Meeting at New York City's La Rotisserie Francaise restaurant in 1980, a group of writers and academics develop Rotisserie Fantasy baseball, only to see it take off in popularity and leave them behind.
1212Run Ricky RunSean Pamphilon and Royce ToniApril 27, 2010 (2010-04-27)0.972[14]
A profile of Ricky Williams focuses on his brief 2004 departure from the NFL, when he sought self-redemption amidst media criticism and fresh rumors of marijuana use.
1313The 16th ManClifford Bestall, Lori McCreary, and Morgan FreemanMay 4, 2010 (2010-05-04)0.463[15]
How hosting (and winning) the 1995 Rugby World Cup and Nelson Mandela's support of the Springboks national team affected post-apartheid South Africa.
1414Straight Outta L.A.Ice CubeMay 11, 2010 (2010-05-11)N/A
The relationship between the Raiders and the minority fan base in Los Angeles during the team's 13 seasons in L.A. (1982–1994)
1515June 17th, 1994Brett MorgenJune 16, 2010 (2010-06-16)N/A
Quick-cut archival footage captures the various US sporting events on the day in question and the emotions they generated, including but not limited to the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament, the Knicks/Rockets battle in the NBA Finals, Arnold Palmer's last round in the U.S. Open, and the New York Rangers' Stanley Cup victory celebration. One event overshadows them all: O. J. Simpson's run from the police. (90 minutes in length)
1616The Two EscobarsJeff Zimbalist and Michael ZimbalistJune 22, 2010 (2010-06-22)N/A
The lives of soccer player Andrés Escobar and drug lord Pablo Escobar; the intertwining of crime and soccer in their native Colombia; and the connections between the murders of both men. (2 hours in length)
1717The Birth of Big AirJeff TremaineJuly 29, 2010 (2010-07-29)N/A
The life of Mat Hoffman and his 25-year career of advancing BMX riding, both creatively and promotionally.
1818Jordan Rides the BusRon SheltonAugust 24, 2010 (2010-08-24)N/A
Motivated by the dream his late father had for him, Michael Jordan retires from basketball and has a brief career in minor league baseball.
1919Little Big MenAl SzymanskiAugust 31, 2010 (2010-08-31)N/A
The Kirkland National Little League team's success at the 1982 Little League World Series, examining why their title win is considered one of the biggest upsets in the event's history.
2020One Night in VegasReggie Rock BythewoodSeptember 7, 2010 (2010-09-07)N/A
The friendship of boxer Mike Tyson and rapper Tupac Shakur and the night of September 7, 1996, when Shakur was murdered after attending the Tyson-Bruce Seldon fight in Las Vegas.
2121UnmatchedLisa Lax and Nancy Stern, with Hannah StormSeptember 14, 2010 (2010-09-14)N/A
A look at the rivalry and friendship between tennis legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
2222The House of SteinbrennerBarbara KoppleSeptember 21, 2010 (2010-09-21)N/A
The legacy of George Steinbrenner's ownership of the New York Yankees.
2323Into the WindSteve Nash and Ezra HollandSeptember 28, 2010 (2010-09-28)[a]0.894[16]
Terry Fox's attempt to run across Canada in support of fundraising for cancer research captures the attention of his fellow Canadians and the world.
2424Four Days in OctoberGary WaksmanOctober 5, 2010 (2010-10-05)1.45[17]
The remarkable comeback of the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.
2525Once BrothersMichael TolajianOctober 12, 2010 (2010-10-12)N/A
The story of Croatian Dražen Petrović and Serbian Vlade Divac, NBA players and Yugoslavian national teammates, and how upheaval in their homeland adversely and irretrievably affected their friendship. (90 minutes in length)
2626Tim Richmond: To the LimitNASCAR Media Group and Rory KarpfOctober 19, 2010 (2010-10-19)N/A
The career of NASCAR driver Tim Richmond, his flamboyant lifestyle, and his 1989 death from AIDS.
2727Fernando NationCruz AngelesOctober 26, 2010 (2010-10-26)N/A
The euphoria created by Fernando Valenzuela's 1981 arrival with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
2828Marion Jones: Press PauseJohn SingletonNovember 2, 2010 (2010-11-02)N/A
The successful track and field career of Marion Jones, her 2007 admission of performance-enhancing drug use, and subsequent prison sentence.
2929The Best That Never WasJonathan HockNovember 9, 2010 (2010-11-09)2.229[18]
The 1981 recruiting of high school football player Marcus Dupree by multiple big-time college programs, his resulting injury-prone college and professional career, and how his pursuit by college and USFL teams changed the recruiting process. (2 hours in length)
3030Pony ExcessThaddeus D. MatulaDecember 11, 2010 (2010-12-11)2.517[13]
The rise, fall, and rebirth of the SMU Mustangs football program, which received a 1-year "death penalty" for major infractions after former SMU player David Stanley blew the whistle on the long-suspected program. (2 hours in length)

ESPN Films Presents[edit]

Other films were previously announced for Volume I of the series but were not included. These films, which began airing in 2011, are a continuation of 30 for 30, dealing with more sports stories that 30 for 30 did not cover. According to 30 for 30 producer Bill Simmons, "We're spinning off the 30 for 30 series next year into something that will probably be called 30 for 30 Presents or something like that... So even though the SMU doc will be the 30th one (right after the Heisman ceremony) don't think the spirit of the series is going away."[19] These additional films include:

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
311The Fab FiveJason HehirMarch 13, 2011 (2011-03-13)2.74[20]
The story of the 1991 Michigan men's basketball recruiting class, called the Fab Five, one of whom (Chris Webber) was later involved in a notorious pay-for-play scandal.
322Catching HellAlex GibneySeptember 27, 2011 (2011-09-27)1.379[21]
The relationship between Chicago Cubs fans and Steve Bartman following Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series
333RenéeEric DrathOctober 4, 2011 (2011-10-04)0.508[22]
The life of transgender athlete Renée Richards, who shocked the world with her entry into the 1977 US Open.
344The Dotted LineMorgan SpurlockOctober 11, 2011 (2011-10-11)0.939[23]
Sports agents Peter Greenberg and Eugene Lee are profiled with their clients Johan Santana, Jacquian Williams and Robert Hughes.
355CharismaticSteven Michaels, Joel Surnow, and Jonathan KochOctober 18, 2011 (2011-10-18)0.672[24]
The run of Charismatic and his jockey, Chris Antley, at the 1999 Triple Crown.
366The Real RockyJeff FeuerzeigOctober 25, 2011 (2011-10-25)1.386[25]
A profile of Chuck Wepner, the original inspiration for Sylvester Stallone's Rocky Balboa character, and how Rocky-like glory eluded Wepner as he took several strange turns in an effort to stay in the spotlight.
377UnguardedJohnathan HockNovember 1, 2011 (2011-11-01)1.377[26]
The story of Chris Herren, a high school basketball star and NBA player; his career-long struggles with drug abuse; and his ultimate discovery of redemption and personal fulfillment through the game.
388Roll Tide/War EagleMartin KhodabakhshianNovember 8, 2011 (2011-11-08)1.698[27]
The continuing rivalry between Auburn University and the University of Alabama, focusing on the history between the two programs, the bad blood between their fans, and how this intense rivalry came to a pinnacle, just when they ended up needing each other most.
399The Marinovich ProjectAndrew Stephan and John DorseyDecember 10, 2011 (2011-12-10)2.131[28]
A look at the rise and fall of former USC and NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich, focusing primarily on the complex relationship between Marinovich and his father.
4010GooseKevin ShawFebruary 26, 2012 (2012-02-26)0.349[29]
The life of Reece "Goose" Tatum who played in Negro League baseball and was an original member of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters.
4111The AnnouncementNelson GeorgeMarch 11, 2012 (2012-03-11)2.047[30]
The events and aftermath of former Los Angeles Lakers player Magic Johnson announcing to the world that he tested positive for HIV.
421226 Years: The Dewey Bozella StoryJose MoralesMarch 15, 2012 (2012-03-15)N/A
Life of Dewey Bozella and his 26 years behind bars, where he found strength and purpose through boxing (becoming the light heavyweight champion of Sing Sing prison), and his goal to be proven innocent and box professionally once he was released.
4313Right to PlayFrank MarshallJune 2, 2012 (2012-06-02)N/A
The story of Norwegian speed-skating gold medalist Johann Olav Koss, who founded the non-profit organization Right to Play, which brings sports to children in third-world and war-torn countries.

Volume II[edit]

On May 15, 2012, it was announced that the 30 for 30 series would return in October 2012, with 30 all new documentaries.[31] The documentaries were integrated with Grantland.com by podcasts, feature stories and oral histories.[32]

Unless otherwise noted, the following films are all 90 minutes in length (including commercials).

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
441BrokeBilly CorbenOctober 2, 2012 (2012-10-02)[b]2.528[33]
An exploration of the road to fortune in sports and the eventual detours (for various reasons) to financial difficulties and bankruptcy, as experienced by top athletes including Leon Searcy, Andre Rison, Keith McCants, and Cliff Floyd.
4529.79*Daniel GordonOctober 9, 2012 (2012-10-09)1.313[34]
A profile of the Men's 100 meter final at the 1988 Summer Olympics and the lives of the eight men who participated, including Ben Johnson (whose world record of 9.79 seconds was annulled after he tested positive for anabolic steroids) and Carl Lewis (who was awarded the gold medal after Johnson's disqualification).
463There's No Place Like HomeMaura Mandt and Josh SwadeOctober 16, 2012 (2012-10-16)1.007[35]
The story of one fan's obsessive quest to purchase, at a 2010 auction, James Naismith's original rules of basketball, perhaps the most important historical document in American sports history, and to bring it "home" to Lawrence, Kansas, where Naismith taught and coached at the University of Kansas for 39 years. (70 mins in length)
474BenjiCoodie and ChikeOctober 23, 2012 (2012-10-23)[b]1.488[36]
The life of Ben Wilson, a well-regarded Chicago high school basketball star, and how his November 1984 murder (one day before the start of his senior season) had a wide-ranging impact.
485Ghosts of Ole MissFritz MitchellOctober 30, 2012 (2012-10-30)1.023[37]
Mississippi native Wright Thompson explores tumultuous events of 1962, when the University of Mississippi campus both erupted in violence over integration and swelled with pride over its unbeaten football team, and how those incidents continue to shape the state 50 years later. (60 mins in length)
496You Don't Know BoMichael BonfiglioDecember 8, 2012 (2012-12-08)3.600[38]
A profile of Bo Jackson and how his college and professional feats in two sports (baseball and football) captured the public's imagination and made Jackson a cultural (and marketing) icon.
507Survive and AdvanceJonathan HockMarch 17, 2013 (2013-03-17)1.603[39]
A look at the North Carolina State Wolfpack men's basketball team's successful and improbable championship runs through the 1983 ACC and the 1983 NCAA tournaments. (2 hrs in length)
518Elway to MarinoKen RodgersApril 23, 2013 (2013-04-23)1.060[40]
A look at the 1983 NFL Draft and the six quarterbacks taken in its first round, specifically John Elway (the first overall pick) and Dan Marino (the last QB picked in Round 1). The film features the recollections of Martin Demoff, the agent for both Elway and Marino, who shares a personal diary he kept to chronicle the indecision the Baltimore Colts had with drafting Elway with the first pick or trading it away, as well as the other teams' interest in his two future-Hall of Fame clients.
529Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie AikauSam GeorgeOctober 1, 2013 (2013-10-01)0.791[41]
A chronicling of the life of Eddie Aikau, a big wave surfer and lifeguard whose death served as inspiration to an entire spiritual movement.
5310Free SpiritsDaniel H. ForerOctober 8, 2013 (2013-10-08)0.699[42]
The story of the colorful figures who made up the American Basketball Association's Spirits of St. Louis, and how Spirits owners Ozzie and Daniel Silna, with their team about to be left out in the ABA's merger with the NBA, managed to negotiate a deal that allowed the brothers' involvement in pro basketball to continue in a most unusual fashion. (60 mins in length)
5411No MásEric DrathOctober 15, 2013 (2013-10-15)1.343[43]
An inside look at the two boxing matches between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán in the 1980s, with insight from boxing experts, family members and the two fighters themselves.
5512Big ShotKevin ConnollyOctober 22, 2013 (2013-10-22)1.07[44]
The story of how young businessman John Spano struck a deal to purchase the New York Islanders in 1996, only to be later revealed as a fraud and being near financial insolvency.
5613This Is What They WantBrian Koppelman and David LevienOctober 29, 2013 (2013-10-29)0.866[45]
The story of a 39-year-old Jimmy Connors and his unexpected and extraordinary underdog run at the 1991 US Open, where he played as a wildcard entrant and reached the semifinals of the men's singles draw.
5714Bernie and ErnieJason HehirNovember 5, 2013 (2013-11-05)1.125[46]
A profile of Bernard King and Ernie Grunfeld, their decades-long friendship, and their on-court partnership on the University of Tennessee basketball team, better known as the "Ernie and Bernie Show".
5815Youngstown BoysJeff Zimbalist and Michael ZimbalistDecember 14, 2013 (2013-12-14)1.967[47]
The stories of two Ohio State football figures connected with Youngstown, Ohio, running back Maurice Clarett (a native of the city) and coach Jim Tressel (former head coach at Youngstown State University), their football exploits at OSU (including a national championship in 2002), and their scandalous exits from the school. (2 hours in length)
5916The Price of GoldNanette BursteinJanuary 16, 2014 (2014-01-16)1.515[49]

A profile of a January 6, 1994, incident at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, where an unknown attacker strikes entrant Nancy Kerrigan — an assailant that is later revealed to be a hit man hired by the ex-husband of Kerrigan's rival, Tonya Harding, as part of a plan to prevent Kerrigan from competing in the 1994 Winter Olympics.

Note: The Price of Gold originally went by the title Tonya and Nancy during production.[48]
6017Requiem for the Big EastEzra EdelmanMarch 16, 2014 (2014-03-16)1.456[50]
A recollection of the original Big East Conference, from its simple beginnings and regional rivalries to its national prominence as one of the most successful college basketball leagues, and how it ended up fighting for its survival in the 2010s during conference realignment.
6118Bad BoysZak LevittApril 17, 2014 (2014-04-17)1.830[51]
A look back at the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Narrated by rapper Kid Rock, a native of nearby Romeo. (2 hours in length)
6219Slaying the BadgerJohn DowerJuly 22, 2014 (2014-07-22)N/A
An examination of the competitive nature that teammates Greg LeMond and Bernard Hinault exhibited in the 1986 Tour de France; a film based on Richard Moore's book of the same name.
6320Playing for the MobJoe Lavine and Cayman GrantOctober 7, 2014 (2014-10-07)N/A
How Mafia associate Henry Hill orchestrated a point-shaving scheme involving Boston College basketball. Narrated by Ray Liotta, who portrayed Hill in Goodfellas. (90 minutes in length)
6421The Day The Series StoppedRyan FleckOctober 14, 2014 (2014-10-14)N/A
A 25-year retrospective of the Loma Prieta earthquake, which struck just before the scheduled start of Game 3 of the 1989 World Series.
6522When The Garden Was EdenMichael RapaportOctober 21, 2014 (2014-10-21)N/A
A look back at the New York Knicks' championship teams of the 1970s.
6623Brian and The BozThaddeus D. MatulaOctober 28, 2014 (2014-10-28)N/A
The rise, fall, and post-football life of Brian Bosworth.
6724Brothers in ExileMario Diaz and MLB ProductionsNovember 4, 2014 (2014-11-04)[c]N/A
The story of Liván and Orlando Hernández, half-brothers who fled Cuba separately and became successful major-league pitchers.
6825Rand UniversityMarquis DaisyNovember 11, 2014 (2014-11-11)N/A
An exploration of former NFL receiver Randy Moss and his humble (and humbling) origins in Rand, West Virginia. (60 mins in length)
6926The U Part 2Billy CorbenDecember 13, 2014 (2014-12-13)N/A
A sequel to The U profiles the Miami Hurricanes football program and its rise from scandal (and calls for the school to drop the sport) to a national championship, only to see new controversy after booster Nevin Shapiro is revealed to have given improper benefits to the program.
7027Of Miracles and MenJonathan HockFebruary 8, 2015 (2015-02-08)N/A
An exploration of the Miracle on Ice from the point of view of the defeated Soviet Union team.
7128I Hate Christian LaettnerRory KarpfMarch 15, 2015 (2015-03-15)2.319[52]
A look at the life and basketball career of Christian Laettner and the intense dislike some fans still harbor for the former Duke University and NBA star.
7229Sole ManJon Weinbach and Dan MarksApril 16, 2015 (2015-04-16)N/A
A profile of Sonny Vaccaro, who rose from steel town roots in Pennsylvania to become an influential force in both basketball and the athletic shoe industry.
7330Angry SkyJeff TremaineJuly 30, 2015 (2015-07-30)[b]N/A
The story of Nick Piantanida, a New Jersey pet store owner and truck driver whose love of parachuting and skydiving puts him on a quest to break the record for the highest recorded parachute jump.

Volume III[edit]

In September 2015, it was announced that 30 for 30 would return for a third volume of 30 films, beginning in October 2015.[9]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleDirected byOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
741Trojan WarAaron Rahsaan ThomasOctober 13, 2015 (2015-10-13)0.941[53]
A profile of the rise and fall of USC Trojans football during Pete Carroll's coaching tenure in the 2000s.
752The Prince of PennsylvaniaJesse VileOctober 20, 2015 (2015-10-20)0.733[54]
An exploration of the turbulent relationship between Olympic wrestling brothers Mark and Dave Schultz and their eccentric benefactor, John du Pont, culminating in the murder of Dave by du Pont.
763The Gospel According to MacJim PodhoretzNovember 3, 2015 (2015-11-03)1.012[55]
A look at how Bill McCartney mixed two religions — college football and evangelical Christianity — while serving as head coach of the Colorado Buffaloes in the 1990s, a tenure that included a national championship.
774Chasing TysonSteven CantorNovember 10, 2015 (2015-11-10)1.203[56]
A look at how Evander Holyfield spent years (1989–91 & 1995–96) trying to arrange his first fight with Mike Tyson in an effort to gain the respect he knew he could only gain by defeating Tyson in the ring.
785Four Falls of BuffaloKen RodgersDecember 12, 2015 (2015-12-12)[d]1.490[58]
A profile of the Buffalo Bills teams of the early 1990s, when the franchise became the first team to play in — and lose — four consecutive Super Bowls.
796The '85 BearsJason HehirFebruary 4, 2016 (2016-02-04)1.425[59]
A 30-year retrospective on the 1985 Chicago Bears, from how they were assembled to their swaggering, dominant run to Super Bowl victory.
807Fantastic LiesMarina ZenovichMarch 13, 2016 (2016-03-13)1.474[60]
A 10-year retrospective of the Duke lacrosse case, in which a party thrown by members of the school's men's lacrosse team led to an accusation of rape — a claim that, though later proven to be false, ignited both a firestorm that damaged the school's prestige and an investigation that ruined careers.
818This Magic MomentErin Leyden and Gentry KirbyApril 14, 2016 (2016-04-14)1.509[61]
A profile of the Orlando Magic teams of the mid-1990s, led by Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway, who gained prominence both on the NBA hardwoods and in pop culture.
829BelievelandAndy BillmanMay 14, 2016 (2016-05-14)0.844[63]
A look at the sports curse that befell Cleveland since the NFL's Browns last brought a major pro sports championship to the Ohio city in 1964. The film debuted one month before LeBron James and the Cavaliers' won the 2016 NBA Finals, after which the film was re-released with an updated ending on June 30, 2016.[62]
8310Doc & DarrylJudd Apatow and Michael BonfiglioJuly 14, 2016 (2016-07-14)[e]1.196[65]
The connection between the lives and careers of former New York Mets Dwight "Doc" Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.
8411Phi Slama JamaChip RivesOctober 18, 2016 (2016-10-18)N/A
A profile of the iconic Houston Cougars men's basketball teams of the 1980s, fronted by Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, whose explosive play and highlight-making slam dunks earned the team the nickname Phi Slama Jama.
8512Hit It HardDavid Terry Fine and Gabe SpitzerNovember 1, 2016 (2016-11-01)N/A
A look at John Daly's rise from obscurity to two major championship wins and fall back to mediocrity.
8613Catholics vs. ConvictsPatrick CreadonDecember 10, 2016 (2016-12-10)2.109
A look at the notorious 1988 Notre Dame–Miami football game and its personal and cultural impact. Creadon was a senior at Notre Dame when the game took place. His roommate that year was one of the people behind the controversial t-shirt that gave the game its name.(2 hours in length)
8714This Was the XFLCharlie EbersolFebruary 2, 2017 (2017-02-02)N/A
Two longtime friends, pro wrestling impresario Vince McMahon and NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol (Charlie Ebersol's father), team to form the XFL, a football league widely ridiculed during its brief run yet also appreciated as a forerunner of modern-day sports broadcasting.
8815One and Not DoneJonathan HockApril 13, 2017 (2017-04-13)N/A
The life and career of John Calipari, one of the most polarizing figures in modern college basketball, weaving his story around that of his 2015–16 Kentucky team.
8916Celtics/Lakers: Best of EnemiesJim PodhoretzJune 13, 2017 (2017-06-13) (Parts 1 & 2)
June 14, 2017 (2017-06-14) (Part 3)
N/A
A three-part series, initially airing on consecutive nights, exploring the Celtics–Lakers rivalry, focusing mainly on the 1980s era of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson but also examining the entire history of the NBA through the rivalry. (Parts 1 & 3: 2 hours in length; Part 2: 1 hour in length)
9017Mike and the Mad DogDaniel H. ForerJuly 13, 2017 (2017-07-13)0.657[66]
The careers of Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, their stormy 19-year partnership on New York City radio; and their influence on the Big Apple radio audience and sports talk radio in general.
9118George Best: All by HimselfDaniel GordonJuly 20, 2017 (2017-07-20)0.360[67]
George Best, Northern Ireland's legendary star, remains one of the most naturally gifted soccer players ever. Best's skill and exuberance lifted Manchester United, but his career was over before he turned 29, the result of his battle with alcoholism.
9219What Carter LostAdam HootnickAugust 24, 2017 (2017-08-24)N/A
In any other year, the 1988 team from Dallas' Carter High School would have gone down as one of the greatest in Texas football history, featuring 28 players who received college scholarship offers, eight of whom would eventually play professional football. Fighting off racial prejudice and a grades controversy — not to mention the team that would overshadow them in book and film (Odessa Permian) — Carter would claim the state title, only to be rocked to their core when six of their players were involved in an armed robbery that changed the community's reputation to this day.
9320Year of the ScabJohn DorseySeptember 12, 2017 (2017-09-12)N/A
During the 1987 players' strike, the Washington Redskins field a roster of replacement players that goes 3-0 and helps pave the way for the Redskins' Super Bowl victory. Thirty years on, those players bear the stigma of being dismissed as "scabs" by fans in general and Redskins management in particular.
9421TommyGentry Kirby and Erin LeydenSeptember 13, 2017 (2017-09-13)[f]N/A
The unlikely rise and sudden fall of boxer Tommy Morrison.
9522Nature BoyRory KarpfNovember 7, 2017 (2017-11-07)1.831[69]
The life and times of professional wrestling legend Ric Flair.
9623The Two BillsKen RodgersFebruary 1, 2018 (2018-02-01)N/A
A look at the relationship between NFL coaches Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Co-produced with NFL Films.
9724The Last Days of KnightRobert AbbottApril 12, 2018 (2018-04-12)[g][h]N/A
The saga surrounding Indiana University firing coach Bob Knight in 2000.
9825SeauKirby BradleySeptember 20, 2018 (2018-09-20)[g][70]TBD
The life of NFL legend Junior Seau, from his upbringing in a Samoan immigrant family, through his path to NFL superstardom and status as a league icon, ending in his seemingly inexplicable suicide in 2012.
992642 to 1Ben Houser and Jeremy SchaapDecember 11, 2018 (2018-12-11)[70]TBD
Chronicles Buster Douglasshocking knockout of the then-undefeated Mike Tyson at the Tokyo Dome on February 11, 1990.
10027TBAKen RodgersJanuary 31, 2019 (2019-01-31)[70]TBD
A look at Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, focusing especially on a 24-hour span in 1992 when he sandwiched an NFL game between a pair of Major League Baseball postseason games in two cities separated by 1,000 miles.
TBATBADown in the Valley[9]Jason HehirTBATBD

How Sacramento mayor and former NBA all-star Kevin Johnson played "point guard" in an effort to keep the Kings from relocating to Seattle.

The film was originally scheduled to air on October 20, 2015,[9] but was delayed to an unspecified date in early October 2015, in light of recent articles revisiting allegations of sexual misconduct involving Johnson.[71]

O.J.: Made in America[edit]

O.J.: Made in America, which was directed by Ezra Edelman, was billed as a "mini-series event" in the 30 for 30 series.[72] The five-part documentary series examines the life of O. J. Simpson, as well as the broader issues of race and celebrity in the United States as it pertained to Simpson's 1995 criminal trial for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her acquaintance, Ronald Lyle Goldman. Made in America also focuses on other aspects in Simpson's life, including his success on the football field, his celebrity away from the gridiron, and his later conviction and imprisonment in a robbery case. Part 1 aired on June 11, 2016, with Parts 2–5 airing on June 14, 15, 17 and 18, respectively.[73][i]

The series received week-long theatrical releases in Los Angeles County and New York City before being broadcast,[72] qualifying it for Oscar consideration. It ultimately received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.[74]

30 for 30 Shorts[edit]

30 for 30 Shorts are short films that have been featured on the 30 for 30 website as well as the now-defunct Grantland.com website; they have also been featured on ESPN or its related networks, either on 30 for 30 compilation shows or on SportsCenter.[75][76]

No.TitleDirected byOriginal release dateLength
(mins)
1Here NowEric DrathMay 15, 2012 (2012-05-15)8:00
An interview with Pete Rose, Major League Baseball's all-time hits leader, at The Forum Shops at Las Vegas' Caesars Palace, where he signs autographs and memorabilia while store employees act as barkers to lure shoppers into the store.
2Arnold's BlueprintJeff Zimbalist and Michael ZimbalistSeptember 26, 2012 (2012-09-26)12:30
A look at how a young Arnold Schwarzenegger's compulsory service in the Austrian Army played a critical role in his path to international bodybuilding fame.
3JakeJonathan HockOctober 25, 2012 (2012-10-25)11:00
The career of Alfred Slote, an author of sports-oriented children's books (Jake being his personal favorite) whose interest was not so much the games played but the drama that the characters encountered.
4The Arnold PalmerBryan GordonNovember 28, 2012 (2012-11-28)9:15
An exploration into the history, mystery and industry surrounding "The Arnold Palmer", the lemonade-and-iced tea beverage created by the same-named golfing legend that has become a fixture of nineteenth hole lore and American leisure.
5Ali: The MissionAmani MartinJanuary 16, 2013 (2013-01-16)13:45
The efforts of Muhammad Ali to negotiate with Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein for the release of U.S. civilians taken hostage after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.
6Disdain the MundaneNelson GeorgeFebruary 13, 2013 (2013-02-13)6:00
The style evolution of New York Knicks player and broadcaster Walt Frazier, from his cool-as-ice look in the 1970s to his use of vibrant colors and patterns today.
7Holy Grail: The T206 Honus WagnerNick and Colin BarnicleFebruary 27, 2013 (2013-02-27)14:00
The story of the rare and valuable T206 Honus Wagner baseball card—over a century old and valued in the millions of dollars—and the myths and realities that surround it.
8Silver ReunionRory KarpfMarch 27, 2013 (2013-03-27)12:45
The members of the 1972 USA men's Olympic basketball team gather to deliberate 12 Angry Men-style on whether to finally accept or continue to refuse silver medals from the 1972 Summer Olympics, where they controversially lost the gold medal game to the Soviet Union.
9The Irrelevant GiantShaun Silva and Don LeporeApril 17, 2013 (2013-04-17)11:30
Bill Parcells recalls his rookie year as a head coach with the New York Giants in 1983 and the impact of John Tuggle, a running back the Giants selected with the final pick in that year's NFL draft.
10CutthroatSteven CantorMay 29, 2013 (2013-05-29)11:15
The struggles of Clint Malarchuk, the "Cowboy Goalie", from a childhood spent riding horses and suffering from OCD to the grueling recovery period after his carotid artery was severed by an opponent's skate blade, one of the most gruesome injuries in sports history.
11Tommy and FrankRichie KeenJuly 24, 2013 (2013-07-24)11:30
An intimate, funny and compelling take on the unique relationship and shared legacy of Tommy John, the chatty Indiana lefty who won nearly 300 Major League games, and Dr. Frank Jobe, the unassuming L.A. orthopedist who conceived and performed a revolutionary elbow operation on John in 1974.
12Wilt Chamberlain: Borscht Belt BellhopCaroline Laskow and Ian RosenbergAugust 14, 2013 (2013-08-14)8:45
Rarely seen archival footage and interviews with people who lived and worked with Wilt Chamberlain give a fascinating glimpse into the basketball star's experiences in the Borscht Belt during its heyday.
13Arthur & JohnnieTate DonovanAugust 28, 2013 (2013-08-28)11:30
Johnnie Ashe tells of a personal sacrifice: After finishing a tour of service in the Vietnam War, Johnnie, a U.S. Marine, volunteers to serve another tour in place of his older brother, Army 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Ashe. Johnnie's selfless move allows Arthur to continue his budding tennis career.
14Collision Course: The Murder of Don AronowBilly CorbenSeptember 25, 2013 (2013-09-25)14:15
The intriguing life and tragic death of businessman Donald Aronow, a prominent name in the world of powerboat racing.
15The Schedule MakersJoseph GarnerNovember 6, 2013 (2013-11-06)12:25
Using only a computer, a pencil and paper, and cooperation, the husband-and-wife duo of Henry and Holly Stephenson spent almost a quarter-century creating Major League Baseball's season schedule.
16The Great ImposterMatt DilmoreNovember 20, 2013 (2013-11-20)9:45
Beginning with stealing a player's warm-up outfit and posing as a player at the 1979 NBA All-Star Game, Barry Bremen begins a playful run fulfilling the average sports fan's ultimate fantasy, sneaking into the fields of play to pose as players, golfers, game officials, and even a cheerleader.
17Judging JewellAdam HootnickJanuary 31, 2014 (2014-01-31)21:45
Security guard Richard Jewell received praise in the aftermath of a bombing during the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta when he helped clear the area and found the bag that contained the pipe bomb. Praise turned into loss of honor when Jewell was wrongfully accused of planting the bomb in the ensuing investigation.[77]
18The DealNick and Colin BarnicleFebruary 12, 2014 (2014-02-12)22:30
The battle between the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees to trade for Alex Rodriguez during the 2003–2004 baseball offseason.
19UntuckedDanny PudiMarch 12, 2014 (2014-03-12)14:45
Player Bo Ellis designs a rebellious, nonconformist jersey that would exemplify the Al McGuire-era Marquette men's basketball team.
20From Harlem With LoveMatt OgensApril 23, 2014 (2014-04-23)11:45
How the Harlem Globetrotters became unlikely ambassadors during the Cold War when they played a series of games in Moscow in 1959.
21PosterizedAndrew JenksMay 21, 2014 (2014-05-21)13:00
A profile of Shawn Bradley, a 7-foot-6 center who spent the majority of his NBA career on the wrong end of epic dunks (the kind usually found on posters), and how he went from a bust on the basketball court to a superstar off of it.
22MECCA: The Floor That Made Milwaukee FamousChris James ThompsonJune 11, 2014 (2014-06-11)14:00
The story behind the iconic, multicolored basketball court Robert Indiana designed for the MECCA Arena, home to the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette Warriors until 1988, and how one Bucks fan used his family's credit card to rescue the floor from the scrap heap.
23The High FiveMichael JacobsJuly 23, 2014 (2014-07-23)10:15
When L.A. Dodger Dusty Baker hit his 30th home run of the 1977 season, the first man to greet him at home plate was his friend and teammate, rookie Glenn Burke. Overcome with happiness, Burke did the first thing that came to mind—he put his hand straight in the air and had Baker slap it, thus in fact creating the high five gesture.
24Kid DannyAndrew CohnAugust 13, 2014 (2014-08-13)17:45
A team from The Bronx makes it to the 2001 Little League World Series, only to be disqualified when pitcher Danny Almonte is revealed to be two years too old to play in Little League.
25Fields of FearAlex GibneySeptember 16, 2014 (2014-09-16)15:30
A profile of the mental side of sports focuses on Mackey Sasser, a talented catcher who suddenly couldn't perform the routine task of throwing the ball back to the pitcher, and how confronting boyhood traumas helped in his mental recovery.
26The Great Trade RobberyStu ZichermanOctober 7, 2014 (2014-10-07)[j]12:00
Former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jimmy Johnson recalls the team's October 1989 trade of Herschel Walker to the Minnesota Vikings, as well as the roster maneuvers involving the players the Cowboys received in return that laid the foundations for the team's success in the 1990s.
27Our Tough GuyMolly SchiotNovember 12, 2014 (2014-11-12)10:30
A look inside the mindset of legendary Boston Bruins enforcer John Wensink, who endeared himself to fans when he infamously challenged the entire Minnesota North Stars bench to a fight, and the journey his life took following his playing career.
28RobbedEric DrathDecember 3, 2014 (2014-12-03)16:30
A look at the 1976 Muhammad Ali/Ken Norton fight at Yankee Stadium. The fight's controversial decision is only part of the story, as gang activity and theft in the wake of a NYPD strike was happening right outside the stadium's gates.
29Student/AthleteKen JeongJanuary 7, 2015 (2015-01-07)13:15
Growing up in Hawaii, Reggie Ho always thought he would follow his father's footsteps into medicine, yet he becomes a crucial contributor to Notre Dame's undefeated 1988 season as a walk-on player.
30The Sweat SolutionDavid Beilinson and Neil AmdurJanuary 21, 2015 (2015-01-21)16:45
Dr. Robert Cade, a renowned kidney specialist at the University of Florida, leads a research team that develops a drink designed to help replenish body fluids lost by the school's football team – a "magic elixir" that would later be called Gatorade.
31An Immortal ManJosh Koury and Myles KaneFebruary 25, 2015 (2015-02-25)15:00
A look at the issue of the cryogenic preservation of Ted Williams' body.
32Wrestling the CurseAmanda SpainFebruary 27, 2015 (2015-02-27)17:00
Kevin Von Erich was part of a legendary wrestling family (he and fellow brothers David, Mike, Chris, and Kerry). The only surviving brother (the other four were lost to drug addiction or suicide), Kevin now finds peace living off the grid in a remote part of Hawaii.
33The Billion Dollar GameNick GutheMarch 18, 2015 (2015-03-18)13:45
A recollection of how the Princeton Tigers, a heavy underdog, nearly defeated top-seeded Georgetown in the first round of the 1989 NCAA Tournament, a game that would forever change March Madness.
34Unhittable: Sidd Finch and the Tibetan FastballPeter SillenApril 1, 2015 (2015-04-01)22:31
For Sports Illustrated's April 1, 1985, issue, George Plimpton profiled Sidd Finch, a highly eccentric New York Mets prospect who could throw a fastball at an unheard-of 168 mph... and who was a product of Plimpton's imagination. On the 30th anniversary of the April Fools hoax, the surviving people responsible are profiled, including the Illinois middle-school teacher who posed as Finch for SI.
35The Anti-MascotColin HanksMay 20, 2015 (2015-05-20)12:00
Aiming to satirize the loveable team mascot craze of the late 1970s and early 1980s, the 1984 San Francisco Giants introduce an "anti-mascot" named "Crazy Crab". With fans encouraged to take the "anti-" literally, Crazy Crab and the actor playing him, Wayne Doba, endure verbal and physical abuse over the course of the Giants' last-place season.
36Ted Turner's Greatest RaceGary JobsonJune 3, 2015 (2015-06-03)14:15
Already a proven broadcasting and sports executive, as well as an America's Cup-winning yachtsman, Ted Turner enters and skippers Tenacious in the 1979 Fastnet yachting race. Here, Turner and Tenacious's crew recall the harrowing race, an event marred by a deadly storm in the Celtic Sea.
37SpyballChristina Burchard and Daniel NewmanJuly 8, 2015 (2015-07-08)18:00
The story of Moe Berg, a 15-year veteran of Major League Baseball who went on to become a World War II spy for the United States.
38Brave In the AttemptFritz MitchellJuly 28, 2015 (2015-07-28)23:45
How seeing the treatment of her intellectually disabled sister propelled Eunice Kennedy Shriver to create the Special Olympics.
39DelaneyGrant CurtisAugust 19, 2015 (2015-08-19)19:45
A profile of Kansas City Chiefs star Joe Delaney, whose reputation for helping others lasted until his drowning death in 1983, when he attempted to save the lives of three boys in a Louisiana pond (though he himself could not swim).
40First PitchAngus WallSeptember 11, 2015 (2015-09-11)23:30
A look at President George W. Bush's ceremonial first pitch at New York's Yankee Stadium prior to Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, just seven weeks after the September 11 attacks in the city.
41The Pittsburgh Drug TrialsMichael JacobsSeptember 28, 2015 (2015-09-28)22:36
Though the 1979 Pirates thrilled Pittsburgh with a World Series win, many of their stars succumbed to the lure of cocaine, leading to baseball's first major drug scandal.
42#BringBackSungWooJosh Swade and Josh ShelovOctober 7, 2015 (2015-10-07)22:30
A mid-season visit to Kansas City by South Korean native and avid Royals fan Lee Sung-woo is followed by a Royals' surge to the 2014 playoffs. With the team in the World Series, an attempt is made by two Royals fans to bring their "good-luck charm" from Seoul back to KC.
43Every DayGabe SpitzerOctober 28, 2015 (2015-10-28)11:30
The story of Joy Johnson, who took up running at age 59 after raising four children and went on to run 25 New York City Marathons.
44Chattanooga Strong[78]Rebecca GitlitzNovember 9, 2015 (2015-11-09)9:44
The story behind the Chattanooga Heroes Fund, started by University of Tennessee alum Peyton Manning to benefit the families of the service members and police officers who were killed or wounded in a July 2015 shooting incident in Chattanooga.
45Tose: The MovieMike TollinNovember 11, 2015 (2015-11-11)15:30
A look at the life and legacy of late Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose.
46Thicker Than WaterJennifer ArnoldDecember 1, 2015 (2015-12-01)14:15
How diver Greg Louganis dealt with two different pressures surrounding him at the 1988 Olympics—his attempt to defend his double gold medal performance from 1984 and the discovery of his HIV-positive status prior to the Games.
47Friedman's ShoesDanny LeeFebruary 9, 2016 (2016-02-09)12:00
The story of Friedman's, an Atlanta shoe store that specialized in really big (think size 22), really expensive shoes for the six-foot-something athlete.
48Slick, Nancy, and the TelethonMichael HusainFebruary 16, 2016 (2016-02-16)14:30
The story of how the Indiana Pacers avoided financial ruin by holding a telethon in the summer of 1977.
49The Bad Boy of BowlingBryan StorkelFebruary 23, 2016 (2016-02-23)19:00
A look at the life of Pete Weber, the self-declared "bad boy of bowling" and the sport's first rock star.
50I Am Yup'ikDaniele Anastasion and Nathan GolonMarch 1, 2016 (2016-03-01)17:15
A 16-year-old Yup'ik Eskimo leaves his tiny village and travels across the frozen tundra to compete in an all-Yup'ik basketball tournament and bring pride to his village.
51No Kin to MeMarc KindermanMarch 8, 2016 (2016-03-08)13:45
The last consolation game in the NCAA Tournament, held in 1981 between LSU and Virginia, was overshadowed by the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan earlier that day, and also by a postgame comment about Reagan by LSU star Rudy Macklin that haunted him for years.
52Tiger HoodChristopher André MarksApril 12, 2016 (2016-04-12)7:15
When Patrick Q. F. Barr found a discarded golf club in the trash, he decided to save it and play street golf in New York City using paper milk cartons stuffed with newspaper, earning him the nickname, "Tiger Hood".
53When The King Held CourtPalmer HoltonApril 19, 2016 (2016-04-19)8:30
How Elvis Presley became a racquetball enthusiast in the final years of his life, going so far as to build a court at his mansion and proposing a chain of racquetball centers.
54Gonzo @ The Derby[79]Michael D. RatnerMay 3, 2016 (2016-05-03)13:00
The lasting legacy of the 1970 Kentucky Derby has nothing to do with the winner, Dust Commander. Its true impact came from the assignment that Scanlan's Monthly gave to a 32-year-old writer from Louisville named Hunter S. Thompson.
55A. C. Green: Iron VirginIsaac FederMay 10, 2016 (2016-05-10)8:30
While A. C. Green is well-known for his basketball talents (winning 3 NBA titles with the "Showtime"-era Lakers and playing in a league-record 1,192 consecutive games), he is also known for abiding by his Christian beliefs and remaining celibate throughout his entire NBA career.
56The Shining Star of Losers EverywhereMickey DuzyjMay 17, 2016 (2016-05-17)18:30
How Japanese thoroughbred Haru Urara, who never won a race in her career, became a symbol of hope to her country and saved the racetrack where she was based.
57We AreJay Bulger and Joshua ShelovMay 24, 2016 (2016-05-24)11:00
A look back at the aftermath of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, focusing specifically on the removal of Joe Paterno's statue from the campus and the design of its replacement.
58Eternal PrincessKatie HolmesMay 24, 2016 (2016-05-24)17:45
It's a long way from Bucharest, Romania to Norman, Oklahoma, and it's been a long time since the 1976 Olympics, where Nadia Comăneci scored seven perfect 10s on her way to three gold medals.
59The Guerrilla FighterGaspar GonzálezJuly 27, 2016 (2016-07-27)17:30
The story of Alexis Argüello, legendary in Nicaragua as both one of the greatest boxers of the 20th century and a political figure.
60What the Hell Happened to Jai AlaiRyan SuffernAugust 2, 2016 (2016-08-02)15:00
How jai alai went from drawing crowds of thousands in Miami in the 1970s and 1980s to being fortunate to draw 100 a match today.
61The ThrowbackErin LeydenDecember 3, 2016 (2016-12-03)11:00
A look back at the college career of Gordie Lockbaum, who became a two-time Heisman Trophy finalist in the 1980s at Division I-AA Holy Cross as a figurative throwback to an earlier era of football, sometimes participating in more than 80% of his team's plays (offense and defense) in a given game.
62The CounterfeiterBrian BiegelMay 17, 2017 (2017-05-17)22:30
The story of Greg Marino, master forger and target of a 1990s FBI investigation known as Operation Bullpen.
63Strike TeamWillie EbersolSeptember 12, 2017 (2017-09-12)25:00
How a team of U.S. Marshals lured more than 100 fugitives to arrest through an offer of free Washington Redskins game tickets.
6424 Strong[80]TBASeptember 28, 2017 (2017-09-28)TBA
Examining the heroics of high school football player Zaevion Dobson that lead to his death.
65The Amazing Adventures of Wally and The WormColin HanksDecember 15, 2017 (2017-12-15)TBA
Wally Blasé is assigned to oversee Chicago Bull Dennis Rodman's knee rehab. What followed was 10 days of jet-setting, brushes with celebrity, a lifelong friendship between Blasé and Rodman — and the Bulls' 5th NBA title.
66Locked InAlison EllwoodAugust 3, 2018 (2018-08-03)TBA
Victoria Arlen had it all as a young girl—athletic talent and a loving family—until falling into a coma at age 11. When she awakened three years later, she was literally trapped in her body, unable to communicate that she was still there. With the help of family and therapy, she came out of her prison unable to walk... but could still swim, all the way to one gold and three silver medals at the 2012 Paralympics. But she wasn't done yet, enrolling a a program called Project Walk—and ending up as a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.
67Sonic BreakStevan RileySeptember 23, 2018 (2018-09-23)[70]TBA
Chronicles the anxiety experienced by Felix Baumgartner during the lead-up to his ultimately successful attempt to become the first human to break the sound barrier without the benefit of engine power.
TBAThe Other Side[81]Vanessa RothTBAN/A
Common goals of teamwork and dedication to a shared purpose unite a youth soccer team, composed of 9 children each from Palestine and Israel, many of whom come face-to-face with the other nationality for the first time in their lives.

30 for 30: Soccer Stories[edit]

On January 11, 2014, it was announced that a soccer-only 30 for 30 series, featuring two-feature-length films and six 30-minute films, would be aired in April 2014, featuring "compelling narratives from around the international soccer landscape". Additionally, a 10-part vignette series, titled Coraçao, about Brazil's rich history, aired during ESPN's 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage.[82]

No.TitleDirected byOriginal air dateUS viewers
(millions)
1HillsboroughDaniel GordonApril 15, 2014 (2014-04-15)[k]0.527[83]
A look at the April 15, 1989 tragedy at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, where overcrowding in the stadium's standing-room-only areas killed 96 people and injured 766. The film examines the ongoing efforts of victims' families to seek exoneration of their loved ones, who were blamed in part by local authorities in an attempt to conceal police and security inadequacies. (2 hours in length)
2Maradona '86Sam BlairApril 22, 2014 (2014-04-22)< 0.033[84]
A look at Diego Maradona's spectacular individual performance during the 1986 FIFA World Cup. (30 minutes in length)
3The OppositionEzra Edelman and Jeffrey PlunkettApril 22, 2014 (2014-04-22)< 0.033[84]
Chile hosts a decisive World Cup qualifier at Santiago's National Stadium just weeks after the stadium had been transformed into a concentration camp and killing field for opponents of Augusto Pinochet (who had just gained power in a military coup). Though FIFA investigates the matter, the game goes on, with the Chilean team winning in a walkover after their opponents from the Soviet Union boycott in protest over the stadium's use. (30 minutes in length)
4Ceasefire MassacreAlex Gibney and Trevor BirneyApril 29, 2014 (2014-04-29)< 0.038[85]
June 18, 1994, and fans of Ireland's national team are euphoric over their team's World Cup opener against Italy at Giants Stadium. Joy turns to horror, however, at a bar in Loughinisland, Northern Ireland, where a Protestant terror group kills six men who were watching the game. The tragedy is a low point and a turning point in the Northern Ireland conflict, one that would ultimately contribute to paramilitaries on both sides calling ceasefires just weeks later. (30 minutes in length)
5The Myth of GarrinchaMarcos Horacio AzevedoApril 29, 2014 (2014-04-29)< 0.038[85]
Examining the legend of Mané Garrincha, who overcame bent legs to lead Brazil to two World Cup wins through his amusing style of play, and the efforts of his family and fans to give him a proper burial in Rio de Janeiro after his death in 1983. The Myth of Garrincha originally went by the title Garrincha: Crippled Angel during production.[82] (30 minutes in length)
6Mysteries of the Rimet TrophyBrett RatnerMay 6, 2014 (2014-05-06)< 0.031[86]
The Jules Rimet Trophy, awarded to the World Cup winners from 1930 to 1970, is a prize shrouded in mystery, as the whereabouts of the original trophy is unknown. This film focuses on the trophy's first brush with crime – a Nazi plan to steal the Rimet Trophy from Italy during World War II – and Ottorino Barassi, an Italian soccer official who attempted to protect the valued prize. (30 minutes in length)
7Barbosa: The Man Who Made All of Brazil CryLoch PhillippsMay 6, 2014 (2014-05-06)< 0.031[86]
How Brazilian goalkeeper Moacir Barbosa went from national hero to pariah after allowing Uruguay's cup-winning goal in the 1950 World Cup. (30 minutes in length)
8White, Blue and WhiteCamilo AntoliniJuly 1, 2014 (2014-07-01)[87]N/A
After leading their national team to victory in the 1978 FIFA World Cup, Argentines Ossie Ardiles and Ricky Villa join Tottenham Hotspur, becoming cult heroes in England after leading Spurs to the 1981 FA Cup Final. Things radically change, however, when a conflicted Ardiles leaves Spurs and returns to Buenos Aires after Argentine troops descend on the British-ruled Falkland Islands, asserting sovereignty over the territory and resulting in the Falklands War.

Vignettes[edit]

No.TitleDirected byOriginal release date
1Coraçao[82]Jonathan HockTBA
A 10-part vignette series exploring the music, dance and history of Brazil, revealing what lies behind Brazil's legend (something most Americans know little about) and exploring how soccer is truly the expression of the soul of its people.

30 for 30 Podcasts[edit]

On September 7, 2016, it was announced that ESPN Films and ESPN Audio would produce 30 for 30 Podcasts, reporting on new sports stories using a narrative podcasting approach.[88] The series will launch in June 2017. The 30 for 30 theme music was re-worked for the podcast series by Hrishikesh Hirway, who is a musician, composer and the host of the Song Exploder podcast. The first season was produced and hosted by Jody Avirgan and a team of in-house producers, with future episodes "to be done in collaboration with outside reporters, documentarians, and ESPN talent."[89]

Season 1[edit]

The first season of 30 for 30 Podcasts was released during the summer of 2017 and featured the following episodes:[90]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleLength (mins.)Original air date
11The Trials of Dan and Dave52:00June 27, 2017 (2017-06-27)[91]
The stories of Dan O'Brien and Dave Johnson, American decathletes who competed for a spot in the 1992 Summer Olympics and who were subjects of a $25 million Reebok ad campaign.
22Yankees Suck49:00July 4, 2017 (2017-07-04)[92]
How a vulgar chant and a bootleg t-shirt became a significant part of the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry.
33On the Ice42:00July 11, 2017 (2017-07-11)[93]
A look at the first all-women expedition to the North Pole in 1997.
44A Queen of Sorts46:00July 18, 2017 (2017-07-18)[94]
How Phil Ivey pulled off an elaborate baccarat scheme in 2012 that won him over $20 million (and landed him in court) — with help from a secretive mastermind who crafted the scheme to get revenge.
55The Fighter Inside46:00July 25, 2017 (2017-07-25)[95]
With a warden's assistance, a professional boxer rises through the sport's ranks while serving a prison term for a 1975 armed robbery.

Season 2[edit]

Season Two of 30 for 30 Podcasts launched in November 2017 and features the following:[96]

No.
overall
No. in
series
TitleLength (mins.)Original air date
61Hoodies Up31:00November 14, 2017 (2017-11-14)
Five weeks after the shooting death of Trayvon Martin, the Miami Heat pose in hoodies for a photo that spurs conversations about gun violence and race, as well as a new era of athlete activism.
72No Rules: The Birth of UFC53:00November 21, 2017 (2017-11-21)
A look at Art Davie and Rorion Gracie's founding of the Ultimate Fighting Championship as well as the mixed martial arts organization's first championship event.
83The Lights of Wrigleyville49:00November 28, 2017 (2017-11-28)
How the fight to install lights at Wrigley Field pitted residents in the ballpark's neighborhood against the Chicago Cubs' corporate owners.
94Madden's Game38:00December 5, 2017 (2017-12-05)
Seeing video games as a football teaching tool, John Madden teams with Electronic Arts on what would become an enduring name in the gaming and sports industries, Madden NFL.
105Project Space Jump[96]TBDTBD
A look at Felix Baumgartner's record-breaking 2012 free fall from the edge of space and the technical and psychological problems that surrounded it.

Critical and ratings response[edit]

Connor Schell, Bill Simmons and John Dahl with award for 30 for 30 at the 70th Annual Peabody Awards

The series had a slow beginning. The first film, Peter Berg's Kings Ransom, a chronicle of Wayne Gretzky's trade from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings, premiered on October 6, 2009, to poor ratings.[10][97] Kings Ransom drew a 0.5 national rating and a total viewership of 645,000.[10][97]

As awareness and critical acclaim grew, the viewing audience also grew. By the seventh episode, The U, the audience had grown to a 1.8 rating and well over 2 million viewers.[12] The A.V. Club review for the eighth entry, Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks, called it "the most hotly anticipated [of the first eight]" and stated that "it more than lived up to the hype."[98]

The A.V. Club has given positive and negative reviews for different episodes in the series, with notable critical reviews of the three Volume I episodes that had involvement by the media production arms of Major League Baseball (Four Days in October), the NBA (Once Brothers) and NASCAR (Tim Richmond: To the Limit).[99][100][101]

Awards[edit]

Sponsors[edit]

Cadillac and Levi's are the presenting sponsors of the series. The Cadillac name appears on the 30 for 30 logo, while the Levi's "go forth" slogan appears on the bottom corner of the screen during the directors interstitial comments, which appear for 45 seconds at the beginning of each film and 30 seconds at the end. Commercials for both companies were shown during every intermission during the original air dates, with Levi's guaranteed a 60-second commercial slot at the beginning of the third act. Cadillac replaced Honda as a primary sponsor; during its time as a contributor, Honda aired parts of its "Dream the Impossible" documentary series in the first commercial break.

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Into the Wind had its premiere on Canada's TSN2 on September 19, 2010.
  2. ^ a b c This film had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
  3. ^ Brothers in Exile premiered on ESPN Deportes on November 1, 2014, in Spanish, followed by its English premiere on ESPN on November 4, 2014.[4]
  4. ^ Four Falls of Buffalo debuted at the North Park Theater in Buffalo, New York, on December 9, 2015, three days before its premiere on ESPN.[57]
  5. ^ This film premiered at the 2016 AFI DOCS festival on June 26.[64]
  6. ^ Tommy was available exclusively on the ESPN app and on-demand beginning September 13, 2017, before making its broadcast premiere on September 27, 2017 on ESPN2.[68]
  7. ^ a b This film premiered on ESPN+.[8]
  8. ^ Television premiere on November 29, 2018.[70]
  9. ^ This film had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.[72]
  10. ^ The Great Trade Robbery premiered on ESPN on October 7, 2014 (the same night as Playing for the Mob) before its release online the next day.[4]
  11. ^ Hillsborough was an ESPN–BBC co-production. It could not be aired in the UK until 2016 because an official inquiry into the disaster was ongoing at the time of its first airing in the U.S.

References[edit]

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  3. ^ Schwartz, Bruce (July 29, 2009). "30 stories for 30 years of ESPN". USAToday.com. USA Today. Retrieved September 26, 2016. To celebrate its 30th birthday, the network is launching 30 for 30, a series of 30 one-hour films by 30 filmmakers covering the biggest sports stories over the network's first 30 years. 
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External links[edit]