30 for 30
|30 for 30|
Logo for 30 for 30 Volume I films
|No. of episodes||157|
|Production company(s)||ESPN Films|
|Original release||October 6, 2009 –|
30 for 30 is the 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.
The idea for the series began in 2007 from ESPN.com columnist and Grantland.com founder Bill Simmons and ESPN's Connor Schell. The title, 30 for 30, derived from the series' genesis as 30 films in celebration of ESPN's 30th anniversary in 2009, 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. 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." 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." In 2010, John Dahl, Connor Schell and Simmons served as 30 for 30's executive producers. 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.
|First aired||Last aired|
|Volume I||30||October 6, 2009||December 11, 2010|
|ESPN Films Presents||14||March 13, 2011||February 12, 2015|
|Shorts||TBA||May 15, 2012||TBA|
|Volume II||30||October 2, 2012||July 30, 2015|
|Soccer Stories||8||April 15, 2014||July 1, 2014|
|Volume III||30||October 13, 2015||July 2, 2019|
|Volume IV||30||September 10, 2019||TBA|
List of 30 for 30 films
Unless otherwise noted, the following films are all 60 minutes in length (including commercials).
|Title||Directed by||Original air date||US viewers|
|1||1||Kings Ransom||Peter Berg||October 6, 2009||0.645|
|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.|
|2||2||The Band That Wouldn't Die||Barry Levinson||October 13, 2009||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 stayed behind to help promote the eventual return of the NFL to the city.|
|3||3||Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?||Mike Tollin||October 20, 2009||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.|
|4||4||Muhammad and Larry||Albert Maysles||October 27, 2009||N/A|
|A look at the October 1980 Muhammad Ali–Larry Holmes fight and its impact on both fighters, featuring fresh interviews with participants and previously unseen lead-up footage from both fighters' camps.|
|5||5||Without Bias||Kirk Fraser||November 3, 2009||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.|
|6||6||The Legend of Jimmy the Greek||Fritz Mitchell||November 10, 2009||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.|
|7||7||The U||Billy Corben||December 12, 2009||2.368|
|The racial and cultural evolution of Miami during the 1980s as represented within the University of Miami football team. (2 hours in length)|
|8||8||Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks||Dan Klores||March 14, 2010||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.|
|9||9||Guru of Go||Bill Couturié||April 3, 2010||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, use of talented players such as Bo Kimble and Hank Gathers, and a pall cast by Gathers' on-court death in 1990.|
|10||10||No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson||Steve James||April 13, 2010||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)|
|11||11||Silly Little Game||Adam Kurland and Lucas Jansen||April 20, 2010||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.|
|12||12||Run Ricky Run||Sean Pamphilon and Royce Toni||April 27, 2010||0.972|
|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.|
|13||13||The 16th Man||Clifford Bestall, Lori McCreary, and Morgan Freeman||May 4, 2010||0.463|
|How hosting (and winning) the 1995 Rugby World Cup, combined with Nelson Mandela's support of the Springboks national team, affected post-apartheid South Africa.|
|14||14||Straight Outta L.A.||Ice Cube||May 11, 2010||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)|
|15||15||June 17th, 1994||Brett Morgen||June 16, 2010||N/A|
|Quick-cut archival footage captures the various US sporting events on the day in question and the emotions they generated, including the opening of the World Cup soccer tournament, the Knicks/Rockets NBA Finals, Arnold Palmer's last round in the U.S. Open, and the New York Rangers' Stanley Cup victory celebration. One event, however, overshadows them all: O. J. Simpson's run from the police. (90 minutes in length)|
|16||16||The Two Escobars||Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist||June 22, 2010||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 deaths of both men. (2 hours in length)|
|17||17||The Birth of Big Air||Jeff Tremaine||July 29, 2010||N/A|
|The life of Mat Hoffman and his 25-year career of advancing, in creative and promotional avenues, BMX riding.|
|18||18||Jordan Rides the Bus||Ron Shelton||August 24, 2010||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.|
|19||19||Little Big Men||Al Szymanski||August 31, 2010||N/A|
|A look at 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.|
|20||20||One Night in Vegas||Reggie Rock Bythewood||September 7, 2010||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.|
|21||21||Unmatched||Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern, with Hannah Storm||September 14, 2010||N/A|
|A look at the rivalry and friendship between tennis legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.|
|22||22||The House of Steinbrenner||Barbara Kopple||September 21, 2010||N/A|
|The legacy of George Steinbrenner's ownership of the New York Yankees.|
|23||23||Into the Wind||Steve Nash and Ezra Holland||September 28, 2010[a]||0.894|
|Terry Fox's attempt to run 5,373 kilometres (3,339 mi) across Canada in support of fundraising for cancer research captures the attention of his fellow Canadians and the world.|
|24||24||Four Days in October||Gary Waksman||October 5, 2010||1.45|
|The remarkable comeback of the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees in the 2004 ALCS.|
|25||25||Once Brothers||Michael Tolajian||October 12, 2010||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)|
|26||26||Tim Richmond: To the Limit||NASCAR Media Group and Rory Karpf||October 19, 2010||N/A|
|The career of NASCAR driver Tim Richmond, his flamboyant lifestyle, and his 1989 death from AIDS.|
|27||27||Fernando Nation||Cruz Angeles||October 26, 2010||N/A|
|The euphoria created by Fernando Valenzuela's 1981 arrival with the Los Angeles Dodgers.|
|28||28||Marion Jones: Press Pause||John Singleton||November 2, 2010||N/A|
|The successful track and field career of Marion Jones, her 2007 admission of performance-enhancing drug use, and subsequent prison sentence.|
|29||29||The Best That Never Was||Jonathan Hock||November 9, 2010||2.229|
|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)|
|30||30||Pony Excess||Thaddeus D. Matula||December 11, 2010||2.517|
|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. Patrick Duffy, known for starring in TV's Dallas at the time of the scandal, narrates. (2 hours in length)|
ESPN Films Presents
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." These additional films include:
|Title||Directed by||Original air date||US viewers|
|31||1||The Fab Five||Jason Hehir||March 13, 2011||2.1 |
|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.|
|32||2||Catching Hell||Alex Gibney||September 27, 2011||1.379|
|The relationship between Chicago Cubs fans and Steve Bartman following Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series|
|33||3||Renée||Eric Drath||October 4, 2011||0.508|
|The life of transgender athlete Renée Richards, who shocked the world with her entry into the 1977 US Open.|
|34||4||The Dotted Line||Morgan Spurlock||October 11, 2011||0.939|
|Sports agents Peter Greenberg and Eugene Lee are profiled with their clients Johan Santana, Jacquian Williams and Robert Hughes.|
|35||5||Charismatic||Steven Michaels, Joel Surnow, and Jonathan Koch||October 18, 2011||0.672|
|The run of Charismatic and his jockey, Chris Antley, at the 1999 Triple Crown.|
|36||6||The Real Rocky||Jeff Feuerzeig||October 25, 2011||1.386|
|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.|
|37||7||Unguarded||Johnathan Hock||November 1, 2011||1.377|
|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.|
|38||8||Roll Tide/War Eagle||Martin Khodabakhshian||November 8, 2011||1.698|
|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.|
|39||9||The Marinovich Project||Andrew Stephan and John Dorsey||December 10, 2011||2.131|
|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.|
|40||10||Goose||Kevin Shaw||February 26, 2012||0.349|
|The life of Reece "Goose" Tatum who played in Negro League baseball and was an original member of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters.|
|41||11||The Announcement||Nelson George||March 11, 2012||2.047|
|The events and aftermath of former Los Angeles Lakers player Magic Johnson announcing to the world that he tested positive for HIV.|
|42||12||26 Years: The Dewey Bozella Story||Jose Morales||March 15, 2012||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.|
|43||13||Right to Play||Frank Marshall||June 2, 2012||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.|
|71||14||The Little Master||Gotham Chopra||February 12, 2015[b]||N/A|
|The life and impact of Indian cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar, set against the backdrop of the 2011 Cricket World Cup, Tendulkar's final attempt to lead his country to one-day cricket's ultimate prize. Narrated by Deepak Chopra, the director's father.|
On May 15, 2012, it was announced that the 30 for 30 series would return in October 2012, with 30 all new documentaries. The documentaries were integrated with Grantland.com by podcasts, feature stories and oral histories.
Unless otherwise noted, the following films are all 90 minutes in length (including commercials).
|Title||Directed by||Original air date||US viewers|
|44||1||Broke||Billy Corben||October 2, 2012[c]||2.528|
|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, Bernie Kosar, and Cliff Floyd.|
|45||2||9.79*||Daniel Gordon||October 9, 2012||1.313|
|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).|
|46||3||There's No Place Like Home||Maura Mandt and Josh Swade||October 16, 2012||1.007|
|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)|
|47||4||Benji||Coodie and Chike||October 23, 2012[c]||1.488|
|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.|
|48||5||Ghosts of Ole Miss||Fritz Mitchell||October 30, 2012||1.023|
|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)|
|49||6||You Don't Know Bo||Michael Bonfiglio||December 8, 2012||3.600|
|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.|
|50||7||Survive and Advance||Jonathan Hock||March 17, 2013||1.603|
|A look at the NC 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)|
|51||8||Elway to Marino||Ken Rodgers||April 23, 2013||1.060|
|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.|
|52||9||Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau||Sam George||October 1, 2013||0.791|
|A chronicling of the life of Eddie Aikau, a big wave surfer and lifeguard whose death served as inspiration to an entire spiritual movement.|
|53||10||Free Spirits||Daniel H. Forer||October 8, 2013||0.699|
|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)|
|54||11||No Más||Eric Drath||October 15, 2013||1.343|
|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.|
|55||12||Big Shot||Kevin Connolly||October 22, 2013||1.07|
|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.|
|56||13||This Is What They Want||Brian Koppelman and David Levien||October 29, 2013||0.866|
|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.|
|57||14||Bernie and Ernie||Jason Hehir||November 5, 2013||1.125|
|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".|
|58||15||Youngstown Boys||Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist||December 14, 2013||1.967|
|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)|
|59||16||The Price of Gold||Nanette Burstein||January 16, 2014||1.515|
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.
|60||17||Requiem for the Big East||Ezra Edelman||March 16, 2014||1.456|
|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.|
|61||18||Bad Boys||Zak Levitt||April 17, 2014||1.830|
|A look back at the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Narrated by rapper Kid Rock, a native of nearby Romeo, Michigan. (2 hours in length)|
|62||19||Slaying the Badger||John Dower||July 22, 2014||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.|
|63||20||Playing for the Mob||Joe Lavine and Cayman Grant||October 7, 2014||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)|
|64||21||The Day The Series Stopped||Ryan Fleck||October 14, 2014||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.|
|65||22||When The Garden Was Eden||Michael Rapaport||October 21, 2014||N/A|
|A look back at the New York Knicks' championship teams of the 1970s.|
|66||23||Brian and The Boz||Thaddeus D. Matula||October 28, 2014||N/A|
|Former linebacker Brian Bosworth unveils a storage locker to his son Max that contains memorabilia from his college and brief professional career. The elder Bosworth reflects on his life and career, making note of a emerging second persona, The Boz, that had begun to subsume his life.|
|67||24||Brothers in Exile||Mario Diaz and MLB Productions||November 4, 2014[d]||N/A|
|The story of Liván and Orlando Hernández, half-brothers who fled Cuba separately and became successful major-league pitchers.|
|68||25||Rand University||Marquis Daisy||November 11, 2014||N/A|
|An exploration of former NFL receiver Randy Moss and his humble (and humbling) origins in Rand, West Virginia. (60 mins in length)|
|69||26||The U Part 2||Billy Corben||December 13, 2014||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.|
|70||27||Of Miracles and Men||Jonathan Hock||February 8, 2015||N/A|
|An exploration of the Miracle on Ice from the point of view of the defeated Soviet Union team.|
|72||28||I Hate Christian Laettner||Rory Karpf||March 15, 2015||2.319|
|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.|
|73||29||Sole Man||Jon Weinbach and Dan Marks||April 16, 2015||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.|
|74||30||Angry Sky||Jeff Tremaine||July 30, 2015[c]||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.|
In September 2015, it was announced that 30 for 30 would return for a third volume of 30 films, beginning in October 2015.
|Title||Directed by||Original air date||US viewers|
|75||1||Trojan War||Aaron Rahsaan Thomas||October 13, 2015||0.941|
|A profile of the rise and fall of USC Trojans football during Pete Carroll's coaching tenure in the 2000s.|
|76||2||The Prince of Pennsylvania||Jesse Vile||October 20, 2015||0.733|
|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.|
|77||3||The Gospel According to Mac||Jim Podhoretz||November 3, 2015||1.012|
|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.|
|78||4||Chasing Tyson||Steven Cantor||November 10, 2015||1.203|
|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.|
|79||5||Four Falls of Buffalo||Ken Rodgers||December 12, 2015[e]||1.490|
|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.|
|80||6||The '85 Bears||Jason Hehir||February 4, 2016||1.425|
|A 30-year retrospective on the 1985 Chicago Bears, from how they were assembled to their swaggering, dominant run to Super Bowl victory.|
|81||7||Fantastic Lies||Marina Zenovich||March 13, 2016||1.474|
|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.|
|82||8||This Magic Moment||Erin Leyden and Gentry Kirby||April 14, 2016||1.509|
|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.|
|83||9||Believeland||Andy Billman||May 14, 2016||0.844|
|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.|
|84||10||Doc & Darryl||Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio||July 14, 2016[f]||1.196|
|The connection between the lives and careers of former New York Mets Dwight "Doc" Gooden and Darryl Strawberry.|
|85||11||Phi Slama Jama||Chip Rives||October 18, 2016||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.|
|86||12||Hit It Hard||David Terry Fine and Gabe Spitzer||November 1, 2016||N/A|
|A look at John Daly's rise from obscurity to two major golf championship wins and fall back to mediocrity.|
|87||13||Catholics vs. Convicts||Patrick Creadon||December 10, 2016||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 (and this film) its name. (2 hours in length)|
|88||14||This Was the XFL||Charlie Ebersol||February 2, 2017||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; the film follows the league's rushed development, its innovative approaches to televised football, and its rapid implosion. The ending foreshadows McMahon's plans to launch a new XFL in 2020 and the Ebersols' upcoming involvement in the competing Alliance of American Football in 2019.|
|89||15||One and Not Done||Jonathan Hock||April 13, 2017||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.|
|90||16||Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies||Jim Podhoretz||June 13, 2017(Parts 1 & 2) |
June 14, 2017 (Part 3)
|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)|
|91||17||Mike and the Mad Dog||Daniel H. Forer||July 13, 2017||0.657|
|The careers of Mike Francesa and Chris Russo, their stormy 19-year partnership on New York City radio; and the duo's influence on their Big Apple audience and sports talk radio in general.|
|92||18||George Best: All by Himself||Daniel Gordon||July 20, 2017||0.360|
|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 essentially over before he turned 29, the result of his battle with alcoholism.|
|93||19||What Carter Lost||Adam Hootnick||August 24, 2017||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's affected the community's reputation to this day.|
|94||20||Year of the Scab||John Dorsey||September 12, 2017||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.|
|95||21||Tommy||Gentry Kirby and Erin Leyden||September 13, 2017[g]||N/A|
|The unlikely rise and sudden fall of boxer Tommy Morrison.|
|96||22||Nature Boy||Rory Karpf||November 7, 2017||1.831|
|The life and times of professional wrestling legend Ric Flair.|
|97||23||The Two Bills||Ken Rodgers||February 1, 2018||N/A|
|A look at the relationship between NFL coaches Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick. Co-produced with NFL Films.|
|98||24||The Last Days of Knight||Robert Abbott||April 12, 2018[h][i]||N/A|
|The saga surrounding Indiana University's firing of men's basketball coach Bob Knight in 2000.|
|99||25||Seau||Kirby Bradley||September 20, 2018[h][j]||N/A|
|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 untimely death from a seemingly inexplicable suicide in 2012.|
|100||26||42 to 1||Ben Houser and Jeremy Schaap||December 11, 2018||N/A|
|A chronicle of Buster Douglas' shocking knockout of the then-undefeated Mike Tyson at the Tokyo Dome on February 11, 1990.|
|101||27||Deion's Double Play||Ken Rodgers and Erik Powers||January 31, 2019||1.15|
|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 cities separated by 1,000 miles.|
|102||28||The Dominican Dream||Jonathan Hock||April 30, 2019||0.347|
|The highs and lows of Felipe López, born into a family of Dominican immigrants to become a star high school and (at St. John’s) collegiate basketball player, and the contentment he finds after a less-than-successful pro career.|
|103||29||Qualified||Jenna Ricker||May 28, 2019||0.360|
|How Janet Guthrie faced scorn, skepticism, and subpar equipment to shock the racing world by becoming the first female driver to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.|
|104||30||The Good, The Bad, The Hungry||Nicole Lucas Haimes||July 2, 2019||0.450|
|A look at one of the biggest rivalries in sports, that of competitive eaters Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut. (90 minutes in length)|
O.J.: Made in America
O.J.: Made in America, which was directed by Ezra Edelman, was billed as a "mini-series event" in the 30 for 30 series. 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.[k]
The series received week-long theatrical releases in Los Angeles County and New York City before being broadcast, qualifying it for Oscar consideration. It ultimately received the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.
On January 7, 2019, ESPN announced the next set of 30 For 30 documentaries. In March 2020, ESPN announced that The Last Dance would air earlier on April 19, 2020, due to the high demand during the COVID-19 pandemic.
|Title||Directed by||Original air date||US viewers|
|105||1||Rodman: For Better or Worse||Todd Kapostasy||September 10, 2019||1.07|
|The unfettered and definitive look at the life and career of Dennis Rodman.|
|106||2||Chuck & Tito||Micah Brown||October 15, 2019||0.609|
|The hot-and-cold relationship between MMA fighters Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz, from the start of UFC through its rise in popularity and to the present day.|
|107||3||Vick||Stanley Nelson||January 30, 2020(Part 1) |
February 6, 2020 (Part 2)
|A comprehensive look at Michael Vick’s saga, including his days as a prep, college, and NFL star; his ostracism (and prison sentence) for his involvement in a dog-fighting ring; and his polarizing return to public life.|
|108||4||LANCE||Marina Zenovich||May 24, 2020(Part 1) |
May 31, 2020 (Part 2)
|Two-part examination of the life, career, and controversies of Lance Armstrong, featuring multiple interviews of Armstrong.|
|109||5||Be Water||Bao Nguyen||June 7, 2020||1.17|
|An exploration of the life and legacy of Bruce Lee as an acting and martial arts icon.|
|110||6||Long Gone Summer||AJ Schnack||June 14, 2020||1.06|
|A look back at the 1998 home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.|
|111||7||The Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius||Daniel Gordon||September 27, 2020(Part 1) |
September 28, 2020 (Part 2)
September 29, 2020 (Part 3)
September 30, 2020 (Part 4)[l]
|The life of South African Paralympic sprinter Oscar Pistorius, from his childhood during the last days of apartheid, to worldwide celebrity as the first double-leg amputee to compete in the able-bodied Olympics, to his conviction for killing his girlfriend.|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original air date||US viewers|
|TBA||Down in the Valley||Jason Hehir||TBA||TBD|
| but was delayed to an unspecified date in early October 2015, in light of then-recent articles revisiting allegations of sexual misconduct involving Johnson. It did have a local premiere in Sacramento before its planned broadcast.|
30 for 30 Shorts
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.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original release date||Length|
|1||Here Now||Eric Drath||May 15, 2012||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.|
|2||Arnold's Blueprint||Jeff Zimbalist and Michael Zimbalist||September 26, 2012||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.|
|3||Jake||Jonathan Hock||October 25, 2012||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.|
|4||The Arnold Palmer||Bryan Gordon||November 28, 2012||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.|
|5||Ali: The Mission||Amani Martin||January 16, 2013||13:45|
|The efforts of Muhammad Ali to negotiate with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein for the release of U.S. civilians taken hostage after Iraq's 1990 invasion of Kuwait.|
|6||Disdain the Mundane||Nelson George||February 13, 2013||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.|
|7||Holy Grail: The T206 Honus Wagner||Nick and Colin Barnicle||February 27, 2013||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.|
|8||Silver Reunion||Rory Karpf||March 27, 2013||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.|
|9||The Irrelevant Giant||Shaun Silva and Don Lepore||April 17, 2013||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.|
|10||Cutthroat||Steven Cantor||May 29, 2013||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.|
|11||Tommy and Frank||Richie Keen||July 24, 2013||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.|
|12||Wilt Chamberlain: Borscht Belt Bellhop||Caroline Laskow and Ian Rosenberg||August 14, 2013||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.|
|13||Arthur & Johnnie||Tate Donovan||August 28, 2013||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.|
|14||Collision Course: The Murder of Don Aronow||Billy Corben||September 25, 2013||14:15|
|The intriguing life and tragic death of businessman Donald Aronow, a prominent name in the world of powerboat racing.|
|15||The Schedule Makers||Joseph Garner||November 6, 2013||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.|
|16||The Great Imposter||Matt Dilmore||November 20, 2013||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.|
|17||Judging Jewell||Adam Hootnick||January 31, 2014||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. But praise turns into loss of honor when Jewell was wrongfully accused of planting the bomb in the ensuing investigation.|
|18||The Deal||Nick and Colin Barnicle||February 12, 2014||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.|
|19||Untucked||Danny Pudi||March 12, 2014||14:45|
|Player Bo Ellis designs a rebellious, nonconformist jersey that would exemplify the Al McGuire-era Marquette men's basketball team.|
|20||From Harlem With Love||Matt Ogens||April 23, 2014||11:45|
|How the Harlem Globetrotters became unlikely ambassadors during the Cold War when they played a series of games in Moscow in 1959.|
|21||Posterized||Andrew Jenks||May 21, 2014||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.|
|22||MECCA: The Floor That Made Milwaukee Famous||Chris James Thompson||June 11, 2014||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.|
|23||The High Five||Michael Jacobs||July 23, 2014||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.|
|24||Kid Danny||Andrew Cohn||August 13, 2014||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.|
|25||Fields of Fear||Alex Gibney||September 16, 2014||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.|
|26||The Great Trade Robbery||Stu Zicherman||October 7, 2014[m]||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.|
|27||Our Tough Guy||Molly Schiot||November 12, 2014||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.|
|28||Robbed||Eric Drath||December 3, 2014||16:30|
|A look at the 1976 Muhammad Ali/Ken Norton fight at Yankee Stadium. The bout's controversial decision is only part of the story, as gang activity and theft in the wake of an NYPD strike was happening right outside the stadium's gates.|
|29||Student/Athlete||Ken Jeong||January 7, 2015||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.|
|30||The Sweat Solution||David Beilinson and Neil Amdur||January 21, 2015||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.|
|31||An Immortal Man||Josh Koury and Myles Kane||February 25, 2015||15:00|
|A look at the issue of cryogenically preserving Ted Williams' body.|
|32||Wrestling the Curse||Amanda Spain||February 27, 2015||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.|
|33||The Billion Dollar Game||Nick Guthe||March 18, 2015||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.|
|34||Unhittable: Sidd Finch and the Tibetan Fastball||Peter Sillen||April 1, 2015||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.|
|35||The Anti-Mascot||Colin Hanks||May 20, 2015||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.|
|36||Ted Turner's Greatest Race||Gary Jobson||June 3, 2015||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.|
|37||Spyball||Christina Burchard and Daniel Newman||July 8, 2015||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.|
|38||Brave In the Attempt||Fritz Mitchell||July 28, 2015||23:45|
|How seeing the treatment of her intellectually disabled sister propelled Eunice Kennedy Shriver to create the Special Olympics.|
|39||Delaney||Grant Curtis||August 19, 2015||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).|
|40||First Pitch||Angus Wall||September 11, 2015||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.|
|41||The Pittsburgh Drug Trials||Michael Jacobs||September 28, 2015||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||#BringBackSungWoo||Josh Swade and Josh Shelov||October 7, 2015||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.|
|43||Every Day||Gabe Spitzer||October 28, 2015||11:30|
|The story of Joy Johnson, who took up running at age 59 after raising four children and went on to participate in 25 New York City Marathons.|
|44||Chattanooga Strong||Rebecca Gitlitz||November 9, 2015||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.|
|45||Tose: The Movie||Mike Tollin||November 11, 2015||15:30|
|A look at the life and legacy of late Philadelphia Eagles owner Leonard Tose.|
|46||Thicker Than Water||Jennifer Arnold||December 1, 2015||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.|
|47||Friedman's Shoes||Danny Lee||February 9, 2016||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.|
|48||Slick, Nancy, and the Telethon||Michael Husain||February 16, 2016||14:30|
|The story of how the Indiana Pacers avoided financial ruin by holding a telethon in the summer of 1977.|
|49||The Bad Boy of Bowling||Bryan Storkel||February 23, 2016||19:00|
|A look at the life of Pete Weber, the self-declared "bad boy of bowling" and the sport's first rock star.|
|50||I Am Yup'ik||Daniele Anastasion and Nathan Golon||March 1, 2016||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.|
|51||No Kin to Me||Marc Kinderman||March 8, 2016||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.|
|52||Tiger Hood||Christopher André Marks||April 12, 2016||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".|
|53||When The King Held Court||Palmer Holton||April 19, 2016||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.|
|54||Gonzo @ The Derby||Michael D. Ratner||May 3, 2016||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.|
|55||A. C. Green: Iron Virgin||Isaac Feder||May 10, 2016||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.|
|56||The Shining Star of Losers Everywhere||Mickey Duzyj||May 17, 2016||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 her home racetrack from financial ruin.|
|57||We Are||Jay Bulger and Joshua Shelov||May 24, 2016||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.|
|58||Eternal Princess||Katie Holmes||May 24, 2016||17:45|
|The successes and struggles of Nadia Comăneci, from being an accomplished (and perfect-score) Romanian gymnast to life as a United States citizen.|
|59||The Guerrilla Fighter||Gaspar González||July 27, 2016||17:30|
|The story of Alexis Argüello, legendary in Nicaragua as both a political figure and one of the greatest boxers of the 20th century.|
|60||What the Hell Happened to Jai Alai||Ryan Suffern||August 2, 2016||15:00|
|How jai alai went from drawing crowds of thousands in Miami in the 1970s and 1980s to being fortunate to draw 100 to a match today.|
|61||The Throwback||Erin Leyden||December 3, 2016||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.|
|62||The Counterfeiter||Brian Biegel||May 17, 2017||22:30|
|The story of Greg Marino, master forger and target of a 1990s FBI investigation known as Operation Bullpen.|
|63||Strike Team||Willie Ebersol||September 12, 2017||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.|
|64||24 Strong||TBA||September 28, 2017||TBA|
|The legacy of Tennessee high school football player Zaevion Dobson, who sacrificed his life while shielding three girls from a drive-by shooting.|
|65||The Amazing Adventures of Wally and The Worm||Colin Hanks||December 15, 2017||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.|
|66||Locked In||Alison Ellwood||August 3, 2018||38:00|
|The story of Victoria Arlen, who was endowed with both athletic talent and a loving family until being "locked" into a vegitative state and unable to communicate. With the help of family and therapy, Victoria would come out of her "prison" to become a medal-winning swimmer at the 2012 Paralympics and, after recovering the use of her legs, a contestant on Dancing with the Stars.|
|67||Sonic Break||Stevan Riley||September 23, 2018||21:45|
|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.|
|68||Mack Wrestles||Taylor Hess and Erin Sanger||September 22, 2019||25:45|
|The story of Mack Beggs and his desire to compete in boys' wrestling in Texas, even though state interscholastic officials, who recognized him as female (Beggs is a trans male), forced him to compete in girls' competitions.|
|69||Subject to Review||Theo Anthony||December 22, 2019||36:45|
|A look at the history, development, and implementation of the photographic computer-modeled review system of tennis line calls, and the intersection of technology and our perceptions of the physical world.|
|TBA||The Other Side||Vanessa Roth||TBA||N/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.|
On April 17, 2019, YouTube Premium released a six-minute commercial for the second season of its web-based series, Cobra Kai, a reboot of The Karate Kid (franchise), constructed as an ESPN 30 for 30, featuring the main cast members and select ESPN personalities analyzing the 1984 match between Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence. It was nominated for a Clio Award.
30 for 30: Soccer Stories
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, aired during ESPN's 2014 FIFA World Cup coverage and examined the history and culture of host country Brazil.
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original air date||US viewers|
|1||Hillsborough||Daniel Gordon||April 15, 2014[n]||0.527|
|A look at the April 15, 1989 tragedy at Hillsborough Stadium in Sheffield, England, where overcrowding in the stadium's standing-room-only areas led to a crushing stampede that 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)|
|2||Maradona '86||Sam Blair||April 22, 2014||< 0.033|
|A look at Diego Maradona's spectacular individual performance during the 1986 FIFA World Cup. (30 minutes in length)|
|3||The Opposition||Ezra Edelman and Jeffrey Plunkett||April 22, 2014||< 0.033|
|Chile hosts a decisive World Cup qualifier at Santiago's National Stadium just weeks after it 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)|
|4||Ceasefire Massacre||Alex Gibney and Trevor Birney||April 29, 2014||< 0.038|
|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 in the Northern Ireland conflict, as well as a turning point, as it would ultimately contribute to paramilitaries on both sides calling ceasefires just weeks later. (30 minutes in length)|
|5||The Myth of Garrincha||Marcos Horacio Azevedo||April 29, 2014||< 0.038|
|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. (30 minutes in length)|
|6||Mysteries of the Rimet Trophy||Brett Ratner||May 6, 2014||< 0.031|
|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)|
|7||Barbosa: The Man Who Made All of Brazil Cry||Loch Phillipps||May 6, 2014||< 0.031|
|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)|
|8||White, Blue and White||Camilo Antolini||July 1, 2014||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.|
|No.||Title||Directed by||Original release date|
|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
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. The podcast was launched in June 2017, with the first season produced and hosted by Jody Avirgan and a team of in-house producers. Future season have featured both single-episode and serialized, season-long subject matter, produced "in collaboration with outside reporters, documentarians, and ESPN talent." 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.
|Title||Length (mins.)||Original air date|
|1||1||The Trials of Dan and Dave||52:00||June 27, 2017|
|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.|
|2||2||Yankees Suck||49:00||July 4, 2017|
|How a vulgar chant and a bootleg t-shirt became a significant part of the Yankees–Red Sox rivalry.|
|3||3||On the Ice||42:00||July 11, 2017|
|A look at the first all-women expedition to the North Pole in 1997.|
|4||4||A Queen of Sorts||46:00||July 18, 2017|
|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.|
|5||5||The Fighter Inside||46:00||July 25, 2017|
|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 two launched in November 2017 and features the following episodes:
|Title||Length (mins.)||Original air date|
|6||1||Hoodies Up||31:00||November 14, 2017|
|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.|
|7||2||No Rules: The Birth of UFC||53:00||November 21, 2017|
|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.|
|8||3||The Lights of Wrigleyville||49:00||November 28, 2017|
|How the fight to install lights at Wrigley Field pitted residents in the ballpark's neighborhood against the Chicago Cubs' corporate owners.|
|9||4||Madden's Game||38:00||December 5, 2017|
|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.|
|10||5||Project Space Jump||TBD||TBD|
|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.|
Season 3: Bikram
Season three, subtitled Bikram, consists of five episodes that released in May 2018. Reported and produced by Julia Lowrie Henderson, it explores the life of Bikram Choudhury, who has been lauded as an innovator and guru of yoga but has also had a history of dark behavior, including bankruptcy, and sexual assault and harassment allegations.
|Title||Length (mins.)||Original air date|
|11||1||Bikram Part 1: Arrival||41:00||May 22, 2018|
|After arriving in Los Angeles in the 1970s, Bikram Choudhury establishes the foundation for his yoga empire through his rags-to-riches origin story and connections with the rich and famous.|
|12||2||Bikram Part 2: Process||37:00||May 22, 2018|
|Bikram's hot yoga trainings puts pupils through intense suffering and begins to reveal his complex character.|
|13||3||Bikram Part 3: Power||37:00||May 22, 2018|
|A review of Birkam's hardball approach to claiming ownership over his brand of yoga, as well as a separation of truths from falsehoods in his life story.|
|14||4||Bikram Part 4: Truth||45:00||May 22, 2018|
|As Bikram’s darkest behaviors begin to emerge, the community devoted to his yoga is forced to face the truth about its leader.|
|15||5||Bikram Part 5: Reckoning||33:00||May 22, 2018|
|Members of the Bikram yoga community wrestle with the guru's reputation and their own complicity in his behavior.|
|Title||Length (mins.)||Original air date|
|16||1||Juiced||41:45||October 16, 2018|
|After his exit from baseball, a vengeful Jose Canseco writes a tell-all memoir about fellow players' use of steroids — an exposé that leads to a congressional hearing.|
|17||2||All In: Sparking the Poker Boom||49:41||October 23, 2018|
|How the 2003 World Series of Poker overcame organizational and competition odds and helped generate a increased interest in the game.|
|18||3||Six Who Sat||42:29||October 30, 2018|
|Two iconic protests (at the 1968 Boston Marathon and the 1972 New York City Marathon) generate a movement that would see women competing with men in long-distance running events.|
|19||4||The Loophole||43:15||November 6, 2018|
|How Hideo Nomo successfully overcame legal and cultural barriers to play in Major League Baseball.|
|20||5||Rickey Won't Quit||41:27||November 13, 2018|
|Still yearning to continue his baseball playing career at 46 and not seeing offers from MLB, former Oakland Athletics legend Rickey Henderson instead joins an independent league.|
|21||6||Back Pass||49:42||May 12, 2019|
|Members of the 1999 United States women's national soccer team use their newfound fame to help launch the first women's pro soccer league, the WUSA, but management tensions jeopardize the venture.|
Season 5: The Sterling Affairs
The fifth season, subtitled The Sterling Affairs and released in August 2019, explored former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling and his subsequent ban for life by commissioner Adam Silver from the National Basketball Association after the exposure of his racist comments. Ramona Shelburne served as reporter and host for the season, which was produced in part with ESPN's The Undefeated website.
|Title||Length (mins.)||Original air date|
|22||1||The Sterling Affairs Part 1: That Tape||36:00||August 20, 2019|
|The season begins with what would spark Donald Sterling's downfall: Audio, secretly recorded by his mistress and leaked to the media, in which he expresses racist comments.|
|23||2||The Sterling Affairs Part 2: The Opposite of Showtime||49:00||August 20, 2019|
|Jerry Buss relies on Sterling's real estate savvy to purchase the Lakers. It helps propel that team to "Showtime" success but leaves Sterling, owner of the floundering Clippers, envious.|
|24||3||The Sterling Affairs Part 3: Property||49:50||August 20, 2019|
|Donald and Shelly Sterling escape poverty to build an LA real estate and basketball empire, but it allows Donald to engage, without consequence, in womanizing and housing discrimination.|
|25||4||The Sterling Affairs Part 4: Fallout||42:52||August 20, 2019|
|The release of the audio tape results in an exercising of power by NBA players — and leads Adam Silver, in his first major test as NBA commissioner, to banish Sterling from the league.|
|26||5||The Sterling Affairs Part 5: Not Fit||48:49||August 20, 2019|
|After the NBA banishes Donald Sterling, wife Shelly makes legal maneuvers to declare him mentally unfit, seize control of the Clippers, and sell the franchise.|
Season six released in November and December 2019, include the following episodes:
|Title||Length (mins.)||Original air date|
|27||1||The Spy Who Signed Me||45:12||November 12, 2019|
|American-born WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird enjoy the riches of playing women's pro basketball in Russia, but are forced to reckon with the dark past of the team owner who ensured their lavish life, Shabtai Kalmanovich.|
|28||2||Out of the Woods||45:14||November 19, 2019|
|Biathlete Kari Swenson recalls her July 1984 kidnapping and her mental and physical recovery process in order to return to competition.|
|29||3||The Fall of the Condor||47:59||November 26, 2019|
|How captain and star goalie Roberto Rojas drove his Chilean national soccer team to be "more bandits than the bandits," especially when up against rival Brazil, in the qualifying process for the 1990 FIFA World Cup.|
|30||4||Cursed and Blessed||45:32||December 3, 2019|
|The history of the Superdome, from the stadium's cursed reputation before and during Hurricane Katrina to its status as the symbol of a rebuilding New Orleans.|
Season 7: Heavy Medals
Season seven features the seven-part miniseries Heavy Medals, focusing on women's gymnastics coaches Béla & Márta Karolyi and their controversial training methods. All seven episodes of the season were released on July 14, 2020, and are reported by Bonnie D. Ford and Alyssa Roenigk.
|Title||Length (mins.)||Original air date|
|31||1||Heavy Medals Part 1: Made in Romania||41:35||July 14, 2020|
|After turning fellow Romanian Nadia Comaneci into a global symbol of gymnastic excellence, Béla & Márta Karolyi defect to the U.S. in a desire to seek greater ambitions.|
|32||2||Heavy Medals Part 2: American Hustle||44:28||July 14, 2020|
|After Mary Lou Retton gains Nadia-like Olympic perfection, she and the Karolyis become household names, prompting Béla to harness that success for his own cause.|
|33||3||Heavy Medals Part 3: The Béla Show||34:58||July 14, 2020|
|After his champion fails at the 1992 Olympics, Béla steps away from the spotlight — but becomes the focus of abuse allegations.|
|34||4||Heavy Medals Part 4: Home Games||33:55||July 14, 2020|
|The talent of Dominique Moceanu pulls the Karolyis back into coaching, but it's long-overshadowed veteran Kerri Strug who brings them new Olympic success.|
|35||5||Heavy Medals Part 5: The Karolyi Way||38:49||July 14, 2020|
|With the 2000 Olympics in sight and its team languishing in mediocrity, USA Gymnastics turns to Béla to oversee the training and team selection process.|
|36||6||Heavy Medals Part 6: The Rise of Martha||41:58||July 14, 2020|
|Márta emerges from under her husband's shadow to become a gymnastics force in her own right, but her approach leads to a discarding of injured athletes — and a culture of silence.|
|37||7||Heavy Medals Part 7: The Unraveling||50:56||July 14, 2020|
|As Márta's own coaching success is established, scandal rocks the gymnastics world and calls the Karolyis' demanding legacy into question.|
Critical and ratings response
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. Kings Ransom drew a 0.5 national rating and a total viewership of 645,000.
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. 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."
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).
- 2010 Peabody Award Winner
- 2010 International Documentary Association's "Distinguished Continuing Series"
- 2014 Emmy for Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program
- 2016 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for O.J.: Made in America
- 2016 Peabody Award for O.J.: Made in America 
- 2017 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature for O.J.: Made in America 
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. During broadcasts in the UK on BT Sport, these sponsorship logos are blurred out due to compliance regulations.
- Nine for IX – a companion series chronicling women's sports stories
- SEC Storied – an ESPN Films series profiling the people, teams, moments and events that tell the ongoing story of the Southeastern Conference
- Into the Wind had its premiere on Canada's TSN2 on September 19, 2010.
- The Little Master premiered on ESPN Caribbean on February 12, 2015, followed by ESPN in the US on February 15 and in Australia and New Zealand on February 22.
- This film had its premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival.
- Brothers in Exile premiered on ESPN Deportes on November 1, 2014, in Spanish, followed by its English premiere on ESPN on November 4, 2014.
- 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.
- This film premiered at the 2016 AFI DOCS festival on June 26.
- 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.
- This film premiered on ESPN+.
- Television premiere on November 29, 2018.
- Television premiere on April 16, 2019.
- This film had its theatrical premiere at the Sundance Film Festival.
- The documentary premiered exclusively on the ESPN+ streaming service. Subscribers had the option to view each part as it aired, or view the entire film on demand starting at the original air date.
- 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.
- 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. After the inquest verdict was announced, footage from the inquest and final verdict would be added to the film.
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For its 30th birthday, ESPN commissioned a series of documentaries, called 30 for 30.
- 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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