30 for 30, created by sports analyst and Grantland.com founder Bill Simmons, is a great platform for major filmmakers to recreate some of the world’s greatest sports drama in a short film/made-for-T.V. format. While most films clock in at around 60 minutes, a spin-off of the series features films that check in at the half-hour mark (30 for 30 shorts). Subjects range from profiles on some of the world’s most celebrated athletes to revealing examinations of taboo topics and controversial figures, hitting on everything and anything in between. However, the one thing all stories have in common is a surprising lack of exposure that they have perhaps deserved for a long time.
Simmons’ creation has thus far spawned two ‘volumes’ of films, with Volume I debuting in October 2009 and concluding in December 2010, and Volume II kicking off in October 2012 and is currently ongoing.
This page is dedicated to any and all 30 for 30 sports films that I have been able to watch and review. I will post the links to these reviews on this page, but you can also access them via the main page. I hope you find some of these links useful, and I highly encourage you to seek some of these films out by consulting your local channel listings — there’s really quite an amazing collection of documentaries to be found, some of which appeal to a wider audience than just the avid sports fan.
Click the images to access the reviews.
A nostalgic look back at the most dominant sports radio personalties of the 1990s and early 2000s — Mike Francesa and Chris “Mad Dog” Russo.
Explores the career of collegiate basketball coach and gadfly John Calipari.
A documentary that examines the bizarre end result of the November 25, 1980 welterweight bout between Roberto Durán and Sugar Ray Leonard, in which the former infamously quit halfway through the fight.
An examination of the sex scandal that rocked Duke University in March of 2006.
A look back at the pivotal moments in the 2004 World Series that led to the Boston Red Sox becoming World Champions, thereby putting an end to their 86-year long championship drought.
A retrospective that examines the rise and sudden collapse of the United States Football League.
“There is no greater feeling than winning the Superbowl. And there is no lower feeling than losing one.” Just ask the Buffalo Bills of the 1990s, who lost four straight.
A profile of the Superbowl-winning Chicago Bears, who boasted one of the most devastating defenses the NFL has ever seen. Football is more than legacy and honor. It’s family.
Cleveland’s major sports teams — the Browns, the Cavaliers and the Indians — have endured a 52-year championship drought. When will the spell be broken? And will it ever?
A look back at the early days of the Orlando Magic and the relationship it had with megastars Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. Oh, what could have been . . .
A look back at all that was entailed in the notoriously bitter rivalry between the Indiana Pacers and the New York Knicks of the early ’90s.
Chronicles the journey of the NC State Wolfpack as they make an improbable run for the 1983 NCAA Tournament Championship. It was part destiny, part coach, part miracle.
A glimpse into the life of Nick Piantanida, who unsuccessfully attempted to break the world-record free fall height on three different occasions in the 1960s. Looking back, it wasn’t all just a failure.
An examination of the bizarre circumstances surrounding the shooting death of Olympic gold medal-winning wrestler Dave Schultz by millionaire John du Pont.
A look back at the Pete Carroll-led era of the USC football program.
On October 17, 1989 Mother Nature threw the Bay Area a curve ball when a powerful earthquake forced the World Series to come to a sudden halt. This is the story of how two rivaling communities came together to help one another in the aftermath.
A documentary about pro BMX rider Mat Hoffman and his influence on the sport he would die for (and almost has).
An examination of controversial Duke forward and how his public perception shaped his career.
A look at the relationship between Hank Gathers and LMU head coach Paul Westhead’s controversial approach to college basketball.
A profile of one of CBS’s most unusual sports broadcasters, a man who dabbled in the world of off-track betting and controversy.
A look back at the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s
A profile of the January 6, 1994 incident at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships involving Nancy Kerrigan and Tonya Harding.
The story of how one man defrauded the entire New York Islanders hockey organization and left it in worse shape than when he found it.