30 for 30 - Season 1

Tuesday 8:00 PM on ESPN Premiered Oct 06, 2009 In Season




Episode Guide

  • Pony Excess (SMU)
    Episode 30
    From 1981-1984, a small private school in Dallas owned the best record in college football. The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University were riding high on the backs of the vaunted "Pony Express" backfield. But as the middle of the decade approached, the program was coming apart at the seams. Wins became the only thing that mattered as the University increasingly ceded power of the football program t o the city's oil barons and real estate tycoons and flagrant and frequent NCAA violations became the norm. On February 25th, 1987, the school and the sport were rocked, as the NCAA meted out "the death penalty" on a college football program for the first and only time in its history. SMU would be without football for two years, and the fan base would be without an identity for twenty more until the Mustangs' win in the 2009 Hawaii Bowl. This is the story of Dallas in the 1980's and the greed, power, and corruption that spilled from the oil fields onto the football field and all the way to the Governor's Mansion. Director Thaddeus D. Matula, a product of the SMU film school, chronicles the rise, fall, and rebirth of this once mighty team.moreless
  • The Best That Never Was episode of 30 for 30 covers the brilliant but tragically short career of football player Marcus Dupree. A high-school phenomenon, he would star as a running back at the University of Oklahoma before injuries cut short his promising career. Robbed of his speed and quickness, Dupree made a quick transition from legend to footnote.

  • 11/2/10

    In the Marion Jones: Press Pause episode of 30 for 30, filmmaker John Singleton examines the controversial career of sprinter Marion Jones. Once the darling of the track and field world, the Olympic champion ultimately went to prison in disgrace after disclosing that she had used performance-enhancing drugs. Once released from jail, she struggles to repair her life and reputation.

  • Fernando Nation
    Episode 27
    The Natural’ is supposed to be a blue-eyed boy who teethed on a 36-ounce Louisville Slugger. He should run like the wind and throw boysenberries through brick. He should come from California." – Steve Wulf, Sports Illustrated, 1981. So how was it that a pudgy 20-year-old, Mexican, left-handed pitcher from a remote village in the Sonoran desert, unable to speak a word of English, could sell out stadiums across America and become a rock star overnight? In Fernando Nation, Mexican-born and Los Angeles-raised director Cruz Angeles traces the history of a community that was torn apart when Dodger Stadium was built in Chavez Ravine and then revitalized by one of the most captivating pitching phenoms baseball has ever seen. Nicknamed “El Toro” by his fans, Fernando Valenzuela ignited a fire that spread from LA to New York—and beyond. He vaulted himself onto the prime time stage and proved with his signature look to the heavens and killer screwball that the American dream was not reserved for those born on U.S. soil. In this layered look at the myth and the man, Cruz Angeles recalls the euphoria around Fernando’s arrival and probes a phenomenon that transcended baseball for many Mexican-Americans. Fernando Valenzuela himself opens up to share his perspective on this very special time. Three decades later, “Fernandomania” lives.moreless
  • 10/19/10

    In the Tim Richmond: To the Limit episode of 30 for 30, the stunning career and troubling life of NASCAR driver Tim Richmond is explored. Despite being known throughout the circuit as a hard-living man, Richmond stunned the NASCAR world with his diagnosis of AIDS. Known as one of the best drivers in the world, he struggled to find sponsorships following his diagnosis.

  • Once Brothers
    Episode 25
    Produced by NBA Entertainment.
  • 10/5/10

    The Four Days in October episode of 30 for 30 looks back at the stunning comeback of the Boston Red Sox against the New York Yankees in the 2004 American League Championship Series. Left for dead after going down 3-0 in the series, the Red Sox roared back to become the first baseball team ever to overcome such a deficit.

  • Into the Wind
    Episode 23

    The Into the Wind episode of 30 for 30 examines the Marathon of Hope undertaken by Terry Fox in 1980. Having lost most of his right leg to cancer, Fox attempted the nearly impossible - to run across the entire nation of Canada. His journey lasted for 143 days before he was forced to stop due to the aggressive nature of his illness.

  • 9/21/10

    In the House of Steinbrenner episode of 30 for 30, filmmaker Barbara Kopple explores the legacy of New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner. As head of a group of investors who purchased the New York Yankees in 1973 for 110 million dollars, Steinbrenner has left a huge and controversial mark on the game ever since.

  • Unmatched
    Episode 21

    The Unmatched episode of 30 for 30 explores the rivalry between tennis players Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. It begins with the first time they faced each other in 1973 and covers the more than 80 matches in which they competed against each other. Though initially fierce rivals, they would become the best of friends in time and usher in a glorious new age of women's tennis.

  • One Night in Vegas
    One Night in Vegas
    Episode 20
    Director Reggie Bythewood retells then events that took place on September 7th, 1996 in Las Vegas following a Mike Tyson and Bruce Seldon Boxing match where Tupac Shakur and Suge Knight attended and sat front row. Mike Tyson tells of his friendship with Tupac, how they meet, and seeing him on the night of his fight. Reggie shows us how Tupac and Mike were both cultural phenomenons occupying the same location during one night in Vegas leading up to the drive by shooting of Tupac and Suge. Friends and family of Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur are interviewed.moreless
  • Little Big Men
    Episode 19

    The Little Big Men episode of 30 for 30 examines the 1982 Little League World Series and the profound impact that the young team from Kirkland, Washington had on the nation. Mixing archival footage with modern interviews with members of the team, filmmaker Al Szymanski tells the story of a team while offering a glimpse into the depressed mood of the United States at the time.

  • 8/24/10

    The Jordan Rides the Bus episode of 30 for 30 looks back at the brief professional baseball career of NBA star, Michael Jordan. Universally considered to be the best basketball player on the planet, Jordan temporarily retired in 1993 to pursue his childhood dream of playing baseball. A god on the basketball court, Jordan struggled to be merely adequate on the baseball diamond.

  • 7/29/10
    In 1985, at the tender age of 13, Mat Hoffman entered into the BMX circuit as an amateur, and by 16 he had risen to the professional level. Throughout his storied career, Hoffman has ignored conventional limitations, instead, focusing his efforts on the purity of the sport and the pursuit of "what's next." His motivations stem purely from his own ambitions, and even without endorsements, cameras, fame and fans, Hoffman would still be working to push the boundaries of gravity. Academy Award nominee Spike Jonze and extreme sport fanatic Johnny Knoxville, along with director Jeff Tremaine, will showcase the inner workings and exploits of the man who gave birth to "Big Air."moreless
  • The Two Escobars
    Episode 16
    Director Jeff Zimbalist looks at the tragic death of Andres Escobar after an accidental own goal and how soccer in Colombia was effectively run by drug lord Pablo Escobar.
  • June 17, 1994
    Episode 15
    Director Brett Morgen looks at how one day went from celebration to chaos.
  • Straight Outta LA
    Straight Outta LA
    Episode 14
    Director Ice Cube examines the Raiders and professional football moving from Los Angeles to Oakland.
  • The 16th Man
    Episode 13
    Rugby has long been viewed in South Africa as a game for the white population, and the country's success in the sport has been a true source of Afrikaner pride. When the 50 year old policies and entrenched injustices of apartheid were finally overthrown in 1994, Nelson Mandela's new government began rebuilding a nation badly in need of racial unity. So the world was watching when South Africa played host to the 1995 Rugby World Cup. Though they only had one non-white player, the South African Springboks gained supporters of all colors as they made an improbable run into the final match where they beat the heavily favored New Zealand team. When Mandela himself marched to the center of the pitch cloaked in a Springbok jersey and shook hands with the captain of the South African team, two nations became one. Oscar winner Morgan Freeman and director Cliff Bestall will tell the emotional story of that cornerstone moment and what it meant to South Africa's healing process.moreless
  • Run Ricky Run
    Episode 12
    Ricky Williams does not conform to America's definition of the modern athlete. In 2004, with rumors of another positive marijuana test looming, the Miami Dolphins running back traded adulation and a mansion in South Florida for anonymity and a $7 a night tent in Australia. His decision created a media frenzy that dismantled his reputation and branded him as a quitter. But while most in the media thought Williams was ruining his life by leaving football, Ricky thought he was saving it. Through personal footage recorded with Williams during his year away from football and beyond, filmmaker and traveling companion Sean Pamphilon will give this misunderstood athlete the opportunity to tell his intriguing story in his own words.moreless
  • Silly Little Game
    Episode 11
    Fantasy sports is estimated to be a $4 billion dollar industry that boasts over 30 million participants and a league for almost every sport imaginable. But for all this success, the story of the game's inception is little known. The modern fantasy leagues can be traced back to a group of writers and academics who met at La Rotisserie Francaise in New York City to form a baseball league of their own: The Rotisserie League. The game quickly grew in popularity, and with the growing use and attractiveness of the internet, the "Founding Fathers" never foresaw how their creation would take off and ultimately leave them behind. Innovative filmmakers Adam Kurland and Lucas Jansen will chronicle the early development and ultimate explosion of Rotisserie Baseball, and shine a light on its mostly unnoticed innovators.moreless
  • Steve James examines Allen Iverson's high school race trial.
  • Guru of Go
    Episode 9

    In the Guru of Go episode of 30 for 30, the career of basketball coach Paul Westhead is examined. Fired as the coach of the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers at the behest of star Magic Johnson, Westhead establishes a juggernaut at the tiny Catholic college, Loyola Marymount. Success mixes with tragedy, however, when team star Hank Gathers tragically dies on the court.

  • Dan Klores examines Reggie Miller's impact on the Knicks in the 1990s.
  • Tommy and Frank
    Tommy and Frank
    Episode 7
    The story of former Dodgers pitcher Tommy John, unassuming L.A. orthopedist Dr. Frank Jobe, and a revolutionary elbow procedure in 1974. Directed by Richie Keen.
  • The U
    Episode 7
    Billy Corben examines the University of Miami football team in the late 1980s.
  • The Legend of Jimmy The Greek
    Fritz Mitchell examines the life of Jimmy the Greek.
  • Irrelevant Giant
    Irrelevant Giant
    Episode 5
    Chronicling former New York Giants RB/KR John Tuggle, the last pick of the 1983 NFL Draft. Tuggle beat the odds to make rookie coach Bill Parcells' squad, but was met with a very different challenge the next year. Directed by Don Lepore and Shaun Silva.
  • Without Bias
    Episode 5
    Kirk Fraser examines the life of Len Bias.
  • Holy Grail: The T206 Honus Wagner
    A look at the famous T206 Honus Wagner baseball card, valued for as much as $3 million, but a subject of collector-world controversy for its authenticity. Directed by Nick and Colin Barnicle.
  • Muhammad and Larry
    Episode 4
    Albert Maysles examines the October 1980 fight between Muhammad Ali and Larry Holmes.
  • 10/20/09
    Mike Tollin examines the rise and fall of the United States Football League.
  • 10/13/09
    Barry Levinson examines the impact of the Baltimore's Marching Ravens, formerly the Baltimore Colts Band, after the Colts moved to Indianapolis and before the Ravens arrival.
  • Kings Ransom
    Episode 1
    Peter Berg examines Wayne Gretzky's trade to Los Angeles.