30 for 30 Episodes

2009, TV Show

30 for 30 Season 1 episodes

Pony Exce$$ Season 1, Episode 30

The rise, fall and rebirth of SMU football is chronicled in "Pony Exce$$." Craig James and Eric Dickerson highlighted the Mustangs' heyday of the early '80s, but rules violations led to the program's demise in 1987. Directed by Thaddeus D. Matula, a graduate of SMU's film school. read more

The Best That Never Was Season 1, Episode 29

"The Best That Never Was" chronicles the career of running back Marcus Dupree, a highly-recruited high-school star in 1981 whose college and pro careers fell short of expectations. Directed by Jonathan Hock. read more

Marion Jones: Press Pause Season 1, Episode 28

"Marion Jones: Press Pause" examines the rise to Olympic stardom and subsequent fall of one of track's top sprinters, who served six months in prison for lying to federal investigators about performance-enhancing drug use. Directed by John Singleton. read more

Fernando Nation Season 1, Episode 27

"Fernando Nation" chronicles the impact of Los Angeles Dodgers pitching great Fernando Valenzuela on the Mexican-American community and baseball in general in the early 1980s. Valenzuela is among those interviewed. Directed by Cruz Angeles. read more

Tim Richmond: To the Limit Season 1, Episode 26

"Tim Richmond: To the Limit" chronicles the life and tragic death of the freewheeling 1980s NASCAR driver who succumbed to AIDS just three years after a seven-win season in the Winston Cup Series. Directed by Emmy Award winner Rory Karpf. read more

Once Brothers Season 1, Episode 25

The bond between countrymen and NBA pioneers Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac is chronicled in "Once Brothers." War in the former Yugoslavia tore apart their friendship before Petrovic's tragic death in a 1993 auto accident. read more

Four Days In October Season 1, Episode 24

The historic Red Sox comeback from a three-game deficit in the 2004 ALCS against the Yankees is chronicled in "Four Days in October." Mariano Rivera's blown save in Game 4 sparked a run that effectively ended Boston's "Curse of the Bambino." read more

Into the Wind Season 1, Episode 23

"Into the Wind" documents amputee Terry Fox's Marathon of Hope, a 1980 quest to run across Canada to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. NBA star and first-time filmmaker Steve Nash tells the story of Fox, a fellow British Columbia native. read more

The House of Steinbrenner Season 1, Episode 22

"The House of Steinbrenner" chronicles George Steinbrenner's impactful 37-year reign as New York Yankees owner, the franchise's transition into a new stadium and new era of ownership. Directed by two-time Oscar-winner Barbara Kopple. read more

Unmatched Season 1, Episode 21

Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova's longtime rivalry and eventual friendship is chronicled in "Unmatched." The tennis legends reflect on their head-to-head history and the state of the game. Directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern Winters. read more

One Night in Vegas Season 1, Episode 20

Tupac Shakur's 1996 murder is chronicled in "One Night in Vegas." The documentary also focuses on the rap artist's friendship with Mike Tyson, whose boxing match Shakur attended just hours before he was gunned down. Directed by Reggie Bythewood. read more

Little Big Men Season 1, Episode 19

The 1982 Little League World Series champions from Kirkland, Wash., are profiled in "Little Big Men." Directors Al Szymanski and Peter Franchella catch up with Cody Webster and other team members who broke a lengthy U.S. drought in Williamsport, Pa. read more

Jordan Rides the Bus Season 1, Episode 18

Michael Jordan's brief minor-league-baseball career is revisited by director Ron Shelton ("Bull Durham") in "Jordan Rides the Bus." The 1994 stint with the double-A Birmingham Barons and manager Terry Francona followed the murder of his father and his third-straight NBA title with the Bulls. read more

The Birth of Big Air Season 1, Episode 17

BMX star Mat Hoffman's high-flying career is documented in "The Birth of Big Air." Director Jeff Tremaine and co-producers Johnny Knoxville and Spike Jonze showcase Hoffman's love of the sport and relentless pursuit of record-breaking jumps and tricks. read more

The Two Escobars Season 1, Episode 16

The early-1990s deaths of Colombian soccer player Andres Escobar and drug baron Pablo Escobar are the focus of "The Two Escobars," a documentary look at the influence of drugs on soccer in the South American nation. Directed by Jeff and Michael Zimbalist. read more

June 17, 1994 Season 1, Episode 15

Recounting O.J. Simpson's infamous car chase and sports events that took place that Friday, including the New York Rangers' victory parade; the Knicks-Rockets NBA Finals; the kickoff of the U.S.-hosted World Cup; and Arnold Palmer's last U.S. Open. Directed by Brett Morgen. read more

Straight Outta L.A. Season 1, Episode 14

The Raiders' 1982 move to Los Angeles and the team's immediate cultural connection with the city are chronicled in "Straight Outta L.A.," directed by Ice Cube. The rap artist traces the origins of the hip-hop scene's affinity for the Silver & Black and the lasting impact in L.A. for the NFL's "outlaw team." read more

The 16th Man Season 1, Episode 13

Morgan Freeman and director Cliff Bestall tell the story of host South Africa's emotional run to the 1995 Rugby World Cup title shortly after the end of apartheid. Nelson Mandela's symbolic embrace of the Springboks' captain is highlighted for its significance as a turning point in unifying the country. read more

Run Ricky Run Season 1, Episode 12

"Run Ricky Run" chronicles running back Ricky Williams' controversial time away from the NFL in 2004 and looks at changes in his life since returning. Includes footage from Australia, where Williams camped after abandoning his Miami lifestyle. Directed by Sean Pamphilon and Royce Toni. read more

Silly Little Game Season 1, Episode 11

"Silly Little Game" chronicles the growth of fantasy sports into a billion-dollar industry and pays tribute to a group of writers and academics who created a baseball league in 1980, hatching the idea at La Rotisserie Francaise, a New York restaurant. Directed by Adam Kurland and Lucas Jansen. read more

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson Season 1, Episode 10

"No Crossover" chronicles the 1993 bowling-alley incident in Hampton, Va., that landed local high-school basketball star Allen Iverson in jail and divided the community along racial lines. Directed by Steve James ("Hoop Dreams"), a Hampton native. read more

The Guru of Go Season 1, Episode 9

"Guru of Go" recalls basketball coach Paul Westhead's up-tempo offense and its success at Loyola Marymount University. Westhead and former LMU star Bo Kimble reflect on their storied NCAA Tournament run in 1990 following the sudden death of Hank Gathers. Directed by Bill Couturie. read more

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks Season 1, Episode 8

Director Dan Klores recalls Reggie Miller's 1990s exploits against the New York Knicks and his give-and-take with courtside fan Spike Lee in "Winning Time." Included: Miller scoring eight points in 8.9 seconds to win a 1995 playoff game and become "The Garden's Greatest Villain." read more

The U Season 1, Episode 7

"The U" chronicles the 1980s evolution of University of Miami football. Miami native and school alum Billy Corben examines how the team's success and swagger related to racial and cultural changes on the campus and in the city. read more

The Legend of Jimmy the Greek Season 1, Episode 6

"The Legend of Jimmy the Greek" examines the ground-breaking career and tragic fall of sports handicapper Jimmy Snyder, who rose to iconic status in his role on "The NFL Today." Directed by Peabody Award winner Fritz Mitchell, who began his career as a researcher on the CBS studio show. read more

Without Bias Season 1, Episode 5

"Without Bias." Director Kirk Fraser examines the life and sudden death of basketball star Len Bias more than two decades after his 1986 passing from a cocaine overdose. Included are interviews with teammates, friends and family members of the one-time Maryland standout who died two days after being drafted by the Boston Celtics. read more

Muhammad and Larry Season 1, Episode 4

"Muhammad and Larry" chronicles the 1980 Muhammad Ali-Larry Holmes bout. Director Albert Maysles unearths extensive footage from each boxer's training headquarters. In fresh interviews, both camps reflect on Ali's controversial decision to fight. read more

Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? Season 1, Episode 3

"Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?" chronicles the rise and fall of the United States Football League, the mid-1980s spring-time rival to the NFL that lasted only three seasons. Former New Jersey Generals owner Donald Trump is among those interviewed by filmmaker Mike Tollin (executive producer of "Smallville" and "One Tree Hill"), who gathered original footage as a league employee. read more

The Band That Wouldn't Die Season 1, Episode 2

"The Band That Wouldn't Die." Oscar-winning director Barry Levinson documents the story of the Baltimore Colts Marching Band, which continued to perform after the team's abrupt departure in 1984. The band beat the drum for their beloved team until the NFL returned to the city in 1995. read more

Kings Ransom Season 1, Episode 1

"Kings Ransom." Chronicling the 1988 trade of hockey star Wayne Gretzky from the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. Directed by Peter Berg ("Friday Night Lights"). read more

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Premiered: October 06, 2009
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Premise: A series of (originally just 30) documentary films on sports stories from ESPN's first 30 years (1979-2009). Subjects were selected by top filmmakers, including Barry Levinson, Morgan Freeman, Ron Shelton, Albert Maysles, Frank Marshall and Ice Cube.

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