8.4
211 votes
30 for 30

30 for 30

ESPN 2009

30 for 30 is the umbrella title for a series of documentary films airing on ESPN and its sister networks and online properties. The series, which highlights people and events in the sports world that have generally received small amounts of attention, has featured two "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.

Warning: the following content contains spoilers!

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The 10 Best Episodes of 30 for 30

30 for 30 - S2E27

#1 - Of Miracles and Men (Season 2 - Episode 27)

An exploration of the Miracle on Ice from the point of view of the defeated Soviet Union team. The film features defenseman Viacheslav Fetisov returning to Lake Placid to recollect his team's defeat.

The episode was rated 8.93 from 29 votes.

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30 for 30 - S2E6

#2 - You Don't Know Bo (Season 2 - Episode 6)

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.

The episode was rated 8.56 from 84 votes.

30 for 30 - S1E23

#3 - Into the Wind (Season 1 - Episode 23)

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.

The episode was rated 8.54 from 26 votes.

30 for 30 - S2E7

#4 - Survive and Advance (Season 2 - Episode 7)

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)

The episode was rated 8.51 from 43 votes.

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30 for 30 - S2E18

#5 - Bad Boys (Season 2 - Episode 18)

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)

The episode was rated 8.48 from 85 votes.

30 for 30 - S1E25

#6 - Once Brothers (Season 1 - Episode 25)

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)

The episode was rated 8.46 from 56 votes.

30 for 30 - S3E23

#7 - Tommy (Season 3 - Episode 23)

The unlikely rise and sudden fall of boxer Tommy Morrison.

The episode was rated 8.40 from 63 votes.

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30 for 30 - S3E6

#8 - The '85 Bears (Season 3 - Episode 6)

A 30-year retrospective on the 1985 Chicago Bears, from how they were assembled to their swaggering, dominant run to Super Bowl victory.

The episode was rated 8.37 from 78 votes.

30 for 30 - S3E33

#9 - Rodman: For Better or Worse (Season 3 - Episode 33)

The unfettered and definitive look at the life and career of Dennis Rodman.

The episode was rated 8.31 from 13 votes.

30 for 30 - S1E16

#10 - The Two Escobars (Season 1 - Episode 16)

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)

The episode was rated 8.24 from 67 votes.

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30 for 30 - S3E22
#11 - Year of the Scab
8.17
Season 3 - Episode 22

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.

The episode was rated from 64 votes.
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30 for 30 - S3E21
#12 - What Carter Lost
8.15
Season 3 - Episode 21

In any other year, the 1988 team from Dallas's 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; the grades controversy would ultimately lead the UIL to strip the team of the title.

The episode was rated from 73 votes.
30 for 30 - S1E8
#13 - Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks
8.13
Season 1 - Episode 8

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.

The episode was rated from 98 votes.
30 for 30 - S1E29
#14 - The Best that Never Was
8.13
Season 1 - Episode 29

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)

The episode was rated from 48 votes.
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30 for 30 - S2E28
#15 - I Hate Christian Laettner
8.11
Season 2 - Episode 28

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.

The episode was rated from 65 votes.
30 for 30 - S3E29
#16 - Deion's Double Play
8.08
Season 3 - Episode 29

A look at Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, focusing specifically 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.

The episode was rated from 171 votes.
30 for 30 - S3E14
#17 - This Was the XFL
8.08
Season 3 - Episode 14

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.

The episode was rated from 92 votes.
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30 for 30 - S3E36
#18 - Vick (2)
8.06
Season 3 - Episode 36

A comprehensive look back at each chapter of Michael Vick's saga: the incredible rise, shocking fall, and polarizing return.

The episode was rated from 16 votes.
30 for 30 - S3E39
#19 - Be Water
8.04
Season 3 - Episode 39

In 1971, after being rejected by Hollywood, Bruce Lee returned to his parents’ homeland, Hong Kong. Over the next two years, he’d complete four iconic films that would define his legacy, a legacy cut short when he died, stunningly, in the summer of 1973. He was 32 years old. “Be Water” is a gripping, fascinating, intimate look at not just those final, defining years of Lee’s life, but the complex, often difficult, and seismic journey that led to Lee’s ultimate emergence as a singular icon in the histories of film, martial arts, and even the connection between the eastern and western worlds.

The episode was rated from 27 votes.
30 for 30 - S2E19
#20 - Slaying the Badger
8.03
Season 2 - Episode 19

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.

The episode was rated from 35 votes.
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Last updated: nov 16, 2022

Comments

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Best sports documentary series in my lifetime. Must see if you're into sports and docs. Even episodes I have no interest in the topic are entertaining. Good behind the scenes insight.

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