30 for 30

30 for 30

ESPN Films' 30 for 30 is an unprecedented documentary series featuring today's finest storytellers from inside and outside of the sports world. What started as a celebration of ESPN's 30th anniversary has come to life as an eclectic and fascinating collection of passionate films about sports and culture. Individually, each of the films in this series is meant to tell an intimate, compelling story that stands on its own and brings to life the filmmaker's vision. Collectively, however, these creatively different films weave together a diverse tapestry of what sports has meant to culture. Ultimately, 30 For 30 strives to sit the viewer down and tell a story, employing many sources but giving a distinctive point of view, marshaling words and images to serve that particular perspective. In a sports universe of competing voices, these films offer a single, compelling one. Written by ESPN Films

Seasons

01 02 03
HD Broke

Broke

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IMDb: 7.1
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78 min

According to a 2009 Sports Illustrated article, 60 percent of former NBA players are broke within five years of retirement. By the time they have been retired for two years, 78% of former NFL players have gone bankrupt or are under financial stress. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders, saddled with medical problems, and naturally prone to showing off, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. Drawing surprisingly vulnerable confessions from retired stars like Keith McCants, Bernie Kosar and Andre Rison, as well as Marvin Miller, the former executive director of the MLB Players Association, this fascinating documentary digs into the psychology of men whose competitive nature can carry them to victory on the field and ruin off it. Director Billy Corben (The U, Cocaine Cowboys, Limelight) paints a complex picture of the many forces that drain athletes' bank accounts, placing some of the blame on the culture at large ... Written by ESPN Films

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HD 9.79*

9.79*

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IMDb: 7.5
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81 min

In the history of the Olympics, there's never been a controversy quite like what ensued over the 100 meter race at Seoul in 1988. The match brought together Carl Lewis (USA) and Ben Johnson (Canada) who had been fierce competitors. Lewis was known as a savvy careerist who became an American hero at the previous Los Angeles Olympics. Johnson was his chief rival, considered an underdog due to his recovery from a pulled hamstring. In less than 10 seconds, Johnson edged out in front of Lewis to win the Seoul race. But that wasn't the end. Three days later, in a reversal of fortune, the Olympic committee announced that Johnson had failed a drug test, losing his medal to Lewis in disgrace. A mystery still shrouds the race. Was Johnson exceptional in his drug usage or merely the fall guy for a widespread practice? Six of the eight finalists in the 1988 race have since been implicated for drugs -- although some still deny any wrongdoing. Filmmaker Daniel Gordon, digs into the controversy, ... Written by ESPN Films

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HD There's No Place Like Home

There's No Place Like Home

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IMDb: 6.3
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62 min

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

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HD Benji

Benji

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IMDb: 7.5
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80 min

In 1984, Chicago was in the heady grip of a Black Renaissance. Harold Washington was mayor, Michael Jordan had just signed with the Bulls, Oprah Winfrey was hosting a local morning show, and on the South Side a young man named Ben Wilson was the most talked-about basketball prospect in a city that was known for its great hoops talent. Handsome, gentle and magnetic, Ben Wilson's magical ability on the court was matched by his popularity in his school and neighborhood. In his junior year, he led Simeon High School to its first state championship. And that summer, he was named America's number-one high school basketball player by the nation's leading talent scouts. Then, on the eve of his senior season, the career of this exceptional youngster was abruptly and tragically cut short. Ben's grim fate sent ripples of horror through the city and the country. BENJI tells the story of a legend who might've been. Written by ESPN Films

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HD Ghosts of Ole Miss

Ghosts of Ole Miss

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IMDb: 6.8
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52 min

In the fall of 1962, a dramatic series of events made Civil Rights history and changed a way of life. On the eve of James Meredith becoming the first African-American to attend class at the University of Mississippi, the campus erupted into a night of rioting between those opposed to the integration of the school and those trying to enforce it. Before the rioting ended, the National Guard and Federal troops were called in to put an end to the violence and enforce Meredith's rights as an American citizen. Two people died and hundreds more were injured during the riots. Against this backdrop, the University of Mississippi football team was in the early stages of what would prove to be an unprecedented season in school history. Directed by Peabody Award-winning filmmaker Fritz Mitchell, Ghosts of Ole Miss explores the intersection of that football team with the Civil Rights history being made on campus. Told through the perspective of writer and Mississippi native Wright Thompson, the ... Written by ESPN Films

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HD You Don't Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson

You Don't Know Bo: The Legend of Bo Jackson

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IMDb: 8.2
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A close look at Bo Jackson, a sports hero of mythical proportions, and how the Bo Knows Nike campaign shaped how the world perceived him. Without winning a Super Bowl or World Series, or even having what some consider a great career in either sport, Bo will be forever be known as one of the greatest and most famous athletes of all time. This film will look at the marketing of athletes, impossible expectations and the legend of Bo Jackson. Written by ESPN Films

Country: USA
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HD Survive and Advance

Survive and Advance

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IMDb: 8.7
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102 min

In 1983, the NC State Wolfpack, coached by Jim Valvano, stayed alive in the post-season through a series of nine overtime and one point games, beating the likes of Michael Jordan and Sam Perkins. The unlikely squad made it to the national championship game against #1 Houston, aka Phi Slamma Jama, a team featuring future NBA Top 50 all-time players Akeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. NC State was one of the biggest underdogs ever in the final game, one that went down as possibly the best college basketball game in history - ending with one of the most well-known plays of all time. Written by ESPN Films

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HD Elway to Marino

Elway to Marino

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IMDb: 7.6
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79 min

In the spring of 1983, a new generation of superstars was poised to enter the NFL. Six quarterbacks were selected in the first round of that draft - still the most ever. Elway to Marino explores this landmark draft.

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HD Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

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IMDb: 7.3
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96 min

Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau chronicles the remarkable life and times of the late Eddie Aikau, the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, pioneering lifeguard and ultimately doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea. With its rich combination of archival imagery, dramatic reenactments, contemporary interviews and meticulously researched historical source material Hawaiian is a compelling examination of the tragic decline and extraordinary rebirth of the Hawaiian culture as personified by a native son whose dynamic life and heroic death served as inspiration to an entire spiritual movement. Written by Anonymous

Country: USA
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HD Free Spirits

Free Spirits

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IMDb: 6.9
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52 min

When the American Basketball Association disbanded in 1976, four ABA franchises joined the NBA - the Nets, Nuggets, Pacers and Spurs. But one of the odd teams out found a different way to secure its future. Free Spirits tells the colorful story of the Spirits of St. Louis - an entertaining and at times controversial team featuring stars like Marvin Bad News Barnes and James Fly Williams with an upstart sportscaster named Bob Costas calling the play-by-play. The spirits managed to pull off a stunning playoff upset of the defending champions in their first season, and then, on their way to franchise extinction, co-owners Daniel and Ozzie Silna managed to negotiate a contract that has allowed the team to continue to exist in the most unusual fashion. Written by ESPN Films

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HD No Más

No Más

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IMDb: 7.1
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77 min

In the midst of boxing's contemporary golden age -¬ the 1980's -¬ stood two fighters who established a captivating rivalry. Their pair of bouts within a span of just over 5 months in 1980 had all the trappings of instant classics. Sugar Ray Leonard, an American hero, who had become a household name after a Gold Medal-winning performance at the 1976 Summer Olympics that led to numerous corporate sponsorships, versus the Latino champion, Roberto Duran, the toughest -¬ some said meanest -¬ fighter of all time. It was not just the drama and action of these fights that would endure, but those two words uttered in the second of their clashes, which would create a sense of mystery, bewilderment and intrigue to the present day. No Mas unveils for the first time what really happened, going behind the scenes of these two showdowns with the help of boxing experts, family members and the two fighters themselves. Written by ESPN Films

Country: USA
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HD Big Shot

Big Shot

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IMDb: 7.4
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79 min

In 1996, the once-dominant New York Islanders were in serious trouble. Lousy performance and poor management were driving away the hockey franchise's loyal fan base. The team hit bottom. Then along came a Dallas businessman named John Spano, who swooped in and agreed to buy the team for 165 million dollars. Things began to look up for the Islanders - way up. But it was all smoke and mirrors. Big Shot goes inside an extraordinary scandal that engulfed the Islanders. Featuring the only interview Spano has ever given about the Islanders deal, this film is an unforgettable tale of a dream that became a lie - and how a scam of such epic proportions initially went undetected. Written by Anonymous

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HD This Is What They Want

This Is What They Want

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IMDb: 7.4
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52 min

When Jimmy Connors arrived in New York for the 1991 U.S. Open, the one-time tennis superstar was 8 years removed from his last Grand Slam singles title, ranked 174th in the world and approaching his 39th birthday. Not exactly a recipe for success. But on the verge of a quick first-round exit, Connors suddenly and unexpectedly re-captured the magic, embarking on a stirring and extraordinary run than included an epic contest with Aaron Krickstein on his way to the semifinals. This is What They Want not only illuminates this highly improbably march past a series of talented and youthful adversaries, it also explores how Connors became a polarizing and provocative personality who helped make tennis a high-octane spectator sport. Written by Anonymous

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HD Bernie and Ernie

Bernie and Ernie

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IMDb: 7.3
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52 min

Bernard King arrived to Knoxville, he was only the third African American ever to play for the Vols' varsity team. By the time he left he was a legend. In his freshman year he dazzled fans in Knoxville, and with talented teammate Ernie Grunfeld, gained national acclaim as part of what was known as The Ernie and Bernie Show. King was a three time SEC player of the year, a consensus All-American in 1977 and drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the first round. We will learn about King's strict upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, the success he enjoyed and the challenges he faced at the University of Tennessee, and the obstacles he overcame in the NBA as he looked to live up to the promise of his college career. It may sound egotistical to say, but I never surprised myself-or almost never-because I prepared to be successful. When it all came together, I was the best in the game. Bernard King Written by Anonymous

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HD Youngstown Boys

Youngstown Boys

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IMDb: 7.8
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103 min

Youngstown Boys is a feature documentary exploring class and power dynamics in college sports through the parallel, interconnected journeys of Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel. These two stars emerged from opposite sides of the tracks in Youngstown, Ohio. They joined together for a magic season at Ohio State University in 2002 and a national championship. Shortly thereafter, Clarett was banished from college football and began a downward spiral that ended with a prison term. Tressel continued at Ohio State for another eight years before his career there also ended in scandal. Now, both Youngstown Boys are attempting to reinvent themselves and resurrect their lives. Written by Anonymous

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HD The Price of Gold

The Price of Gold

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IMDb: 7.4
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78 min

The world couldn't keep its eyes off two athletes at the 1994 Winter Games in Lillehammer - Nancy Kerrigan, the elegant brunette and Tonya Harding, the feisty blonde engulfed in scandal. Just weeks before the Olympics on January 6, 1994 at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, Kerrigan was stunningly clubbed on the right knee by an unknown assailant and left wailing, Why, why, why? As the bizarre why mystery unraveled, it was revealed that Harding's ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly, had plotted the attack with his misfit friends to literally eliminate Kerrigan from the competition. Now two decades later, The Price of Gold takes a fresh look at the worldwide spectacle that elevated the popularity of professional figure skating and has Harding still facing questions over what she knew when she knew it. Written by ESPN Films

Country: USA
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HD Requiem for the Big East

Requiem for the Big East

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IMDb: 7.8
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104 min

30 for 30 Present: Requiem For The Big East chronicles the meteoric ascension of the Big East conference, and how in less than a decade, it became the most successful college basketball league in America.

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HD Bad Boys

Bad Boys

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IMDb: 8.3
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103 min

Few teams in professional sports history elicit such a wide range of emotions as the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early '90s. For some, the team was heroic - made up of gritty, hard-nosed players who didn't back down from anyone. And for others, it was exactly that trait - the willingness to do seemingly anything to win - that made them the Bad Boys, the team fans loved to hate. No drama is complete without compelling characters, and the Bad Boys Pistons had a full cast. Viewers will see the many factors that drove one of the best - and most complex - players in NBA history: Isiah Thomas, a lethal combination of sweetness on the outside and toughness within. In addition, the team was characterized by the toughness of Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn; the quiet intensity of Joe Dumars; the savvy and fearlessness of a young Dennis Rodman; the comic relief provided by John Salley; and the mixture of grit, professionalism and style possessed by coach Chuck Daly. Sandwiched between... Written by Fragateiro

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HD Slaying the Badger

Slaying the Badger

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IMDb: 7.8
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79 min

Before Lance Armstrong, there was Greg LeMond, who is now the first and only American to win the Tour de France. In this engrossing documentary, LeMond looks back at the pivotal 1986 Tour, and his increasingly vicious rivalry with friend, teammate, and mentor Bernard Hinault. The reigning Tour champion and brutal competitor known as The Badger, Hinault 'promised' to help LeMond to his first victory, in return for LeMond supporting him in the previous year. But in a sport that purports to reward teamwork, it's really every man for himself. Written by ESPN Films

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HD Playing for the Mob

Playing for the Mob

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IMDb: 7.1
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78 min

What happens when you combine Goodfellas with college basketball? You get Playing for the Mob, the story of how mobster Henry Hill -- played by Ray Liotta in the 1990 Martin Scorsese classic -- helped orchestrate the fixing of Boston College basketball games in 1978 and 1979. The details of that point-shaving scandal are revealed for the first time on film through the testimony of the players, the federal investigators and the actual fixers, including Hill, who died shortly after he was interviewed. Playing for the Mob may be set in the seemingly golden world of college basketball, but like Goodfellas, this is a tale of greed, betrayal and reckoning. Ultimately, they both share the same message: With that much money at stake, you can't trust anybody. Written by ESPN Films

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HD The Day the Series Stopped

The Day the Series Stopped

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IMDb: 6.9
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51 min

On October 17, 1989, at 5:04 p.m. PT, soon after Al Michaels and Tim McCarver started the ABC telecast for Game 3 of the World Series between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, the ground began to shake beneath Candlestick Park. Even before that moment, this had promised to be a memorable match-up: the first in 33 years between teams from the same metropolitan area, a battle featuring larger-than-life characters and equally colorful fan bases. But after the 6.9 Loma Prieta earthquake rolled through, bringing death and destruction, the Bay Area pulled together and baseball took a backseat. Through archival footage, previously untold stories from players, officials, San Francisco and Oakland citizens affected by the earthquake, and a scientific look back at what happened below the earth, The Day The Series Stopped will revisit that night 25 years ago. The record book shows that the A's swept the Giants, but that's become a footnote to the larger story of the 1989 ...

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HD When the Garden Was Eden

When the Garden Was Eden

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IMDb: 7.1
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76 min

In the early 1970s, America was being torn apart by the war in Vietnam, racial unrest in the streets and distrust of the White House. But there was a happy place where men of different backgrounds showed people what could happen when you worked together: yes, Madison Square Garden. In When the Garden Was Eden, director Michael Rapaport chronicles the glorious and glory years of the New York Knicks, when they made the NBA Finals in three out of four seasons, winning two titles. Stitched together by Red Holzman, the historically mediocre Knicks might have seemed an odd collection of characters: a forward from the rarefied air of Princeton (Bill Bradley), two players from the Jim Crow South (Willis Reed and Walt Frazier), a blue collar guy from Detroit (Dave DeBusschere), a pair of inner city guards (Earl Monroe, Dick Barnett), even a mountain man from Deer Lodge, Montana (Phil Jackson). But by embracing their differences and utilizing their strengths, they showed the NBA-and the ... Written by ESPN Films

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HD Brian and the Boz

Brian and the Boz

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IMDb: 7.4
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77 min

In some ways, Barry Switzer and Brian Bosworth were made for each other. The Oklahoma coach and the linebacker he recruited to play for him were both out-sized personalities who delighted in thumbing their noses at the establishment. And in their three seasons together (1984-86), the unique father-son dynamic resulted in 31 wins and two Orange Bowl victories as Bosworth was awarded the first two Butkus Awards. But then Bosworth's alter ego: The Boz, took over both their lives and ultimately destroyed their careers. In Brian and The Boz, Bosworth looks back on the mistakes he made and passes on the lessons he learned to his son. It's a revealing portrait of a man who had and lost it all, and a trip back to a time when enough just wasn't enough. Written by ESPN Films

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HD Brothers in Exile

Brothers in Exile

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IMDb: 7.7
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78 min

Brothers in Exile tells the incredible story of Livan and Orlando El Duque Hernandez, who risked their lives to escape Cuba. Livan left first--banking on his status as the hottest young prospect in Cuba he defected via Mexico and signed with the Florida Marlins, for whom he became one of the youngest World Series MVPs in history in 1997. Staying behind was Orlando, who was banned from professional baseball in Cuba for life because he was suspected of having helped Livan escape. Then, on Christmas 1997, an increasingly frustrated and harassed Orlando left Cuba in a small boat. He was stranded on a deserted island for days before being picked up by the U.S. Coast Guard. Less than a year later, El Duque was helping pitch the New York Yankees to a world championship, completing a most unlikely journey for two half-brothers who rode their arms to freedom and triumph. Written by ESPN Films

Country: USA
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HD Rand University

Rand University

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IMDb: 7.2
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51 min

Life story of NFL wide receiver Randy Moss who grew up in Rand, West Virginia. Made by filmmaker Marquis Daisy in a journey back to the small town where troubles with the law nearly derailed Moss's career before he landed at Marshall University and began making national headlines on the football field.

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HD The U: Part 2

The U: Part 2

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IMDb: 7.2
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Produced in 2009 for the 30 for 30 series, The U took a look at all that was good and bad about the rise of the University of Miami's football program in the 1980s. But that wasn't the end of the story. The U Part 2 picks up where the original film left off, with the program trying to recover from the devastation left by NCAA sanctions and scandals that had some calling for the school to drop football. The Hurricanes rose from those ashes to win another national championship, only to face a new controversy when a booster, who made his fortune through a Ponzi scheme, won favor with the program. Written by ESPN Films

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HD Of Miracles and Men

Of Miracles and Men

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IMDb: 8.2
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103 min

The story of one of the greatest upsets in sports history has been told. Or has it? On a Friday evening in Lake Placid, a plucky band of American collegians stunned the vaunted Soviet national team, 4-3 in the medal round of the 1980 Winter Olympic hockey competition. Americans couldn't help but believe in miracles that night, and when the members of Team USA won the gold medal two days later, they became one for the ages. But there was another, unchronicled side to the Miracle On Ice. The so-called bad guys from America's ideological adversary were in reality good men and outstanding players, forged into the Big Red Machine by the genius and passion of Anatoli Tarasov. There was a reason they seemed unbeatable, especially after routing the Americans in an exhibition the week before the Winter Games began. And there was a certain shame in them having to live the rest of their lives with the results of February 22, 1980. Written by ESPN Films

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HD I Hate Christian Laettner

I Hate Christian Laettner

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IMDb: 7.8
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He made perhaps the most dramatic shot in the history of the NCAA basketball tournament. He's the only player to start in four consecutive Final Fours, and was instrumental in Duke winning two national championships. He had looks, smarts and game. So why has Christian Laettner been disliked so intensely by so many for so long? Maybe it was the time he stomped on the chest of a downed player, or the battles he had with his teammates, or a perceived sense of entitlement. But sometimes, perception isn't reality. I Hate Christian Laettner will go beyond the polarizing persona to reveal the complete story behind this lightning rod of college basketball. Featuring extensive access to Laettner, previously unseen footage and perspectives from all sides, this film will be a gloves-off examination of the man who has been seen by many as the Blue Devil Himself. Written by Anonymous

Country: USA
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HD Sole Man

Sole Man

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IMDb: 7.2
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78 min

Sole Man offers a snap-shot into how America's playground sport became a sophisticated and increasingly soulless business. Meet Sonny Vaccaro, a true original, whose motives and staggering set of relationships played a seminal role in creating the big-money, multimedia, international phenomenon called basketball.

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HD Angry Sky

Angry Sky

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IMDb: 7.5
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77 min

In 1965, at the height of the space race, Nick Piantanida launched the first civilian space program. A truck driver and exotic pet dealer from New Jersey, Piantanida had no formal training, no college degree and barely enough money to support his devoted wife and their three children. But he had a dream-to take a balloon to the edge of the atmosphere and jump out. If he succeeded, he'd set a world record as he free-fell back to earth for nearly 17 minutes. Angry Sky is the story of a man whose dream took him to the edge of space but whose obsession led to his tragic downfall. Written by ESPN Films

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