30 for 30

2009, TV Show

Full Episodes(49)

Latest Episode: Bad Boys [HD]

Apr 17, 2014 Season 3 Episode 17 watch on (Paid)

Few teams in professional sports history elicit such a wide range of emotions as the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. 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.

Pony Excess (SMU)

Dec 11, 2010 Season 1 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.
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The Best That Never Was (Marcus Dupree)

Nov 09, 2010 Season 1 Episode 29

In 1981, college athletic recruiting changed forever as a dozen big time football programs sat waiting for the decision of a physically powerful and lightning-quick high school running back named Marcus Dupree. Having already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, Dupree attracted recruiters from schools in every major conference to his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. More than a decade removed from being a flashpoint in the civil rights struggle, Philadelphia was once again thrust back into the national spotlight. Dupree took the attention in stride, and committed to Oklahoma. What followed, though, was a forgettable college career littered with conflict, injury and oversized expectations. Eight-time Emmy Award winner Jon Hock will examine why this star burned out so young and how he ultimately used football to redeem himself.
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Marion Jones: Press Pause

Nov 02, 2010 Season 1 Episode 28

Few athletes in Olympic history have reached such heights and depths as Marion Jones. After starring at the University of North Carolina and winning gold at the 1997 and '99 World Track and Field Championships, her rise to the top culminated at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. Jones captivated the world with her beauty, style and athletic dominance, sprinting and jumping to three gold medals and two bronze. Eventually though, her accomplishments and her reputation would be tarnished. For years, Jones denied the increasing speculation that she used performance-enhancing drugs. But in October 2007, she finally admitted what so many had long suspected - that she had indeed used steroids. Calling herself a liar and a cheat in a federal courtroom, Jones was sentenced to 6 months in prison for lying to federal investigators and soon saw her Olympic achievements disqualified. Now a free woman once again, Jones is running in a new direction in life and taking time to reflect. Director John Singleton will focus on the rise, fall and re-birth of Marion Jones, including her desire to slow down and come clean about her mistakes. Rebuilding her life with her new husband and children, Jones is determined to be a model of perseverance.
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Fernando Nation

Oct 26, 2010 Season 1 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.
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Tim Richmond: To the Limit

Oct 19, 2010 Season 1 Episode 26

Natural. Rock star. Outsider. In the 1980s, race car driver Tim Richmond lived his life the way he raced cars – wide open. Born into a wealthy family, Richmond was the antithesis of the Southern blue-collar, dirt-track racers who dominated NASCAR. He also was a flamboyant showman who basked in the attention of the media and fans – especially the attention of female admirers. Nevertheless, it was Richmond’s on-track performances that ended up drawing comparisons to racing legends. And in 1986, when he won seven NASCAR races and finished third in the Winston Cup series points race, some believed he was on the verge of stardom. But soon his freewheeling lifestyle caught up to him. He unexpectedly withdrew from the NASCAR racing circuit, reportedly suffering from double pneumonia. In reality, the diagnosis was much more dire: He had AIDS. Richmond returned to the track in 1987, but he was gone from the sport by the next year as his health deteriorated. He spent his final days as a recluse, dying on August 13, 1989 at the age of 34. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rory Karpf will examine the life and tragic death of one of NASCAR’s shooting stars.
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Once Brothers

Oct 12, 2010 Season 1 Episode 25

Drazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac were two friends who grew up together sharing the common bond of basketball. Together, they lifted the Yugoslavian National team to unimaginable heights.  After conquering Europe, they both went to America where they became the first two foreign players to attain NBA stardom. But with the fall of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, Yugoslavia split up. A war broke out between Petrovic's Croatia and Divac's Serbia.  Long buried ethnic tensions surfaced. And these two men, once blood brothers, were now on opposite sides of a deadly civil war.  As Petrovic and Divac continued to face each other on the basketball courts of the NBA, only hatred passed between the two. Then, on the fateful night of June 7, 1993, Drazen Petrovic was killed in an auto accident. "Once Brothers" will tell the gripping tale of these two men, how circumstances beyond their control tore apart their friendship, and whether Divac has ever come to terms with the death of a friend before they had a chance to reconcile.
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Four Days in October

Oct 05, 2010 Season 1 Episode 24

When the night of October 6, 2004 came to a merciful end, the Curse of the Bambino was alive and well. The vaunted Yankee lineup, led by ARod, Jeter, and Sheffield, had just extended their ALCS lead to three games to none, pounding out 19 runs against their hated rivals. The next night, in Game 4, the Yankees took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, then turned the game over to Mariano Rivera, the best relief pitcher in postseason history, to secure yet another trip to the World Series. But after a walk and a hard-fought stolen base, the cold October winds of change began to blow. Over four consecutive days and nights, this unlikely group of Red Sox miraculously won four straight games to overcome the inevitability of their destiny. Using extensive archive coverage from that week, Major League Baseball Productions will produce a film in "real-time" that takes an in-depth look at the 96 hours that brought salvation to Red Sox Nation and made baseball history in the process.
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Into the Wind

Sep 28, 2010 Season 1 Episode 23

In 1980, Terry Fox continued to fight bone cancer and deep despair in pursuit of a singular, motivating vision: to run across Canada. Three years after having his right leg amputated six inches above the knee, Fox set out to cover more than a marathon’s distance each day until he reached the shores of Victoria, British Columbia. Spreading awareness and raising funds for cancer research. Anonymous at the start of his journey, Fox steadily captured the heart of a nation with his marathon of hope. After 143 days and two-thirds of the way across Canada, with the eyes of a country watching, Fox’s journey came to an abrupt end when newly discovered tumors took over his body. Two-time NBA MVP, proud Canadian, and first-time filmmaker, Steve Nash, will share Fox’s incredible story of perseverance and hope.
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The House of Steinbrenner

Sep 21, 2010 Season 1 Episode 22

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that George Steinbrenner has been one of the most colorful and successful owners in contemporary sports. Heading up a group that bought the New York Yankees in 1973 for $10 million, “King George” emphatically branded the world’s most celebrated sports franchise as his own. The Boss has boasted 10 pennants, 6 World Series trophies and a corporate net worth more than $1 billion. But for all the glory and riches, the Steinbrenner legacy is also mixed with wasteful and embarrassing spending and countless episodes of tabloid-style soap. Now with George’s health seriously failing, the Steinbrenner heirs are finally beginning to emerge from their father’s larger-than-life shadow as they collectively move his franchise into a new home and a new era. With unprecedented access to the Steinbrenner family, two-time Oscar-winning director Barbara Kopple examines this challenging and intriguing transfer of power of baseball’s ultimate Family Business.
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Unmatched (Evert & Navratilova)

Sep 14, 2010 Season 1 Episode 21

The first time Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova stepped onto a tennis court together, the world scarcely noticed. Only a few hundred spectators saw the pert 18-year-old beat the scrappy 16-year-old Czech in 1973. “I remember that she was fat,” Evert recalled. “She was very emotional on the court, whining if she didn't feel she was playing well. But I remember thinking, if she loses weight, we’re all in trouble.” Said Navratilova, “My goal was for her to remember my name.” Eighty matches later – amid the extraordinary growth of women’s tennis – Evert not only remembered, but became a tried and true friend and confidante, remarkable considering the two appeared to be polar opposites in upbringing, life styles and personal relationships. Through a series of personal conversations between Evert and Navratilova, filmmakers Nancy Stern Winters and Lisa Lax, along with producer Hannah Storm, will tell the story of one of the greatest one-on-one sports rivalries and capture these two extraordinary athletes’ views on tennis and an ever-changing world.
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Tim Richmond: To The Limit [HD]

Sep 07, 2010 Season 1 Episode 20

Natural. Rock star. Outsider. In the 1980s, race car driver Tim Richmond lived his life the way he raced car. Born into a wealthy family, Richmond was the antithesis of the Southern blue-collar, dirt-track racers who dominated NASCAR.
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Little Big Men

Aug 31, 2010 Season 1 Episode 19

On August 28, 1982, Cody Webster and a small group of schoolyard friends from Kirkland, Washington, sat anxiously in a dugout waiting to take the field for the championship game of the Little League World Series.  Their focus was just about what you’d expect from any 12 year old: hit the ball, throw strikes, cross your fingers and then maybe – MAYBE – you’ll win.  Adults in the stands and watching from home saw a much broader field of play. The memories of American hostages and a crippling oil crisis were still fresh; inflation and unemployment – the economic malaise of the late 1970s still lingered; and the new President was recovering from an assassination attempt even while confronting new threats from the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, back on that tiny baseball field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania where America’s game was celebrated each year summer, no American team had won a true international Little League World Series championship in more than a decade. When the Kirkland players rushed from their dugout that day they stepped onto a much bigger field than the one they saw.  What they then did, how they did it, and what happened to each of the players in the years that followed is a multi-faceted story – much like the diamond on which the game is played. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Al Szymanski will examine what happened to a group of childhood teammates when the high point in their life occurred before their life had really begun.
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Jordan Rides the Bus

Aug 24, 2010 Season 1 Episode 18

In the fall of 1993, in his prime and at the summit of the sports world, Michael Jordan walked away from pro basketball. After leading the Dream Team to an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and taking the Bulls to their third consecutive NBA championship the following year, Jordan was jolted by the murder of his father. Was it the brutal loss of such an anchor in his life that caused the world’s most famous athlete to rekindle a childhood ambition by playing baseball? Or some feeling that he had nothing left to prove or conquer in basketball? Or something deeper and perhaps not yet understood? Ron Shelton, a former minor leaguer who brought his experiences to life in the classic movie Bull Durham, will revisit Jordan’s short career in the minor leagues and explore the motivations that drove the world’s most competitive athlete to play a new sport in the relative obscurity of Birmingham, Alabama, for a young manager named Terry Francona.
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The Birth of Big Air

Jul 29, 2010 Season 1 Episode 17

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.”
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The House of Steinbrenner [HD]

Jun 22, 2010 Season 1 Episode 16

Love him or hate him, there is no denying that George Steinbrenner has been one of the most colorful and successful owners in contemporary sports. Heading up a group that bought the New York Yankees in 1973 for $10 million, "King George" emphatically branded the world's most celebrated sports franchise as his own.
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Unmatched (Evert & Navratilova) [HD]

Jun 16, 2010 Season 1 Episode 15

The first time Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova stepped onto a tennis court together, the world scarcely noticed. Only a few hundred spectators saw the pert 18-year-old beat the scrappy 16-year-old Czech in 1973. "I remember that she was fat," Evert recalled. But I remember thinking, if she loses weight, we're all in trouble."
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Little Big Men [HD]

May 11, 2010 Season 1 Episode 14

On August 28, 1982, Cody Webster and a small group of schoolyard friends from Kirkland, Washington, sat anxiously in a dugout waiting to take the field for the championship game of the Little League World Series. Their focus was just about what you'd expect from any 12 year old: hit the ball, throw strikes, cross your fingers and then maybe you'll win.
watch on (Paid)

The 16th Man

May 04, 2010 Season 1 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.
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Run Ricky Run

Apr 27, 2010 Season 1 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.
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Silly Little Game

Apr 20, 2010 Season 1 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.
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No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson

Apr 13, 2010 Season 1 Episode 10

On Valentine’s Day 1993, 17-year-old Bethel High School basketball star Allen Iverson was bowling in Hampton, Va., with five high school friends. It was supposed to be an ordinary evening, but it became a night that defined Iverson’s young life. A quarrel soon erupted into a brawl pitting Iverson’s young black friends against a group of white patrons. The fallout from the fight and the handling of the subsequent trial landed the teenager, which some considered the nation’s best high school athlete, in jail and sharply divided the city along racial lines. Oscar nominee Steve James (Hoop Dreams) returns to his hometown of Hampton, where he once played basketball, to take a personal look at this still disputed incident and examine its impact on Iverson and the shared community.
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Silly Little Game [HD]

Apr 03, 2010 Season 1 Episode 9

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.
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Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks

Mar 14, 2010 Season 1 Episode 8

Reggie Miller single-handedly crushed the hearts of Knick fans multiple times. But it was the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals which solidified Miller as Public Enemy #1 in New York City. With moments to go in Game 1, and facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit of 105-99, Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to give his Indiana Pacers an astonishing victory. This career-defining performance, combined with his give-and-take with Knicks fan Spike Lee, made Miller and the Knicks a highlight of the 1995 NBA playoffs. Peabody Award-winning director Dan Klores will explore how Miller proudly built his legend as "The Garden's Greatest Villain".
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Guru of Go (Loyola Marymount) [HD]

Dec 12, 2009 Season 1 Episode 7

By the mid-1980s, Paul Westhead had worn out his welcome in the NBA. The best offer he could find came from an obscure small college with little history of basketball. In the same city where he had won an NBA championship with Magic and Kareem, Westhead was determined to perfect his non-stop run-and-gun offensive system at Loyola Marymount.
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Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks [HD]

Nov 10, 2009 Season 1 Episode 6

Reggie Miller single-handedly crushed the hearts of Knick fans multiple times. But it was the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals which solidified Miller as Public Enemy #1 in New York City. With moments to go in Game 1, and facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit of 105-99, Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to give his Indiana Pacers an astonishing victory.
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Without Bias

Nov 03, 2009 Season 1 Episode 5

More than two decades after his tragic cocaine overdose, the late Len Bias still leaves more questions than answers. When Bias dropped dead two days after the 1986 NBA Draft, he forever altered our perception of casual drug use and became the tipping point of America's drug crisis in the mid-80s. Future generations continue to face the harsh punishment of drug policies that were influenced by the public outcry after his heartbreaking death. Instead of becoming an NBA star, he became a one-man deterrent, the athlete who reminded everyone just how dangerous drug use can be. Amazingly, questions still linger about his death nearly a quarter-century later. How good could he have been in the pro ranks? Has he become underrated or overrated as the years pass? How could a University of Maryland superstar and Boston Celtics lottery pick be derailed by a cocaine binge? Was Bias a one-time user as we were led to believe, or was there a pattern of recreational use that led to his fatal last night? Did he fall in with the wrong crowd? In the most ambitious, comprehensive and uncompromising account of Bias' life and death ever captured on film, up-and-coming director Kirk Fraser utilizes dozens of interviews with Bias' closest teammates, friends and family in an effort to determine exactly what happened on that fateful night. Maybe it wasn't as much of a fluke as we thought.
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Muhammad and Larry

Oct 27, 2009 Season 1 Episode 4

In October of 1980, Muhammad Ali was preparing to fight for an unprecedented fourth heavyweight title against his friend and former sparring partner Larry Holmes. To say that the great Ali was in the twilight of his career would be generous: Most of his admiring fans, friends and fight scribes considered his bravado delusional. What was left for him to prove? In the weeks of training before the fight, documentarians Albert and David Maysles took an intimate look at Ali trying to convince the world and perhaps himself, that he was still "The Greatest". At the same time, they documented the mild-mannered and undervalued champion Holmes as he confidently prepared to put an end to the career of a man for whom he had an abiding and deep affection for. In the raw moments after Ali's humbling in this one-sided fight, it was not fully comprehended what the Maysles brothers had actually captured on film, and due to unexpected circumstances the Maysles footage never received a public screening or airing. However, in the intervening years, the magnitude of this footage is now clear. An era ended when the braggadocio and confidence were stripped away in the ring, and the world's greatest hero was revealed to be a man. Here for the first time is the unseen filmed build up to that fight, accompanied by freshly shot interviews by Albert Maysles with members from both the Ali and Holmes camps, as well as others who were prime witnesses to this poignant foolhardy attempt at courage.
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Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?

Oct 20, 2009 Season 1 Episode 3

In 1983 the upstart United States Football League (USFL) had the audacity to challenge the almighty NFL. The new league did the unthinkable by playing in the spring and plucked three straight Heisman Trophy winners away from the NFL. The 12-team league USFL played before crowds that averaged 25,000, and started off with respectable TV ratings. But with success came expansion and new owners, including a certain high profile and impatient real estate baron whose vision was at odds with the league's founders. Soon, the USFL was reduced to waging a desperate anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL, which yielded an ironic verdict that effectively forced the league out of business. Now, almost a quarter of a century later, Academy Award-nominated and Peabody Award-winning director Mike Tollin, himself once a USFL employee, will showcase the remarkable influence of those three years on football history and attempt to answer the question, "Who Killed the USFL?"
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Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL? [HD]

Oct 13, 2009 Season 1 Episode 2

In 1983 the upstart United States Football League (USFL) had the audacity to challenge the almighty NFL. The new league did the unthinkable by playing in the spring and plucked three straight Heisman Trophy winners away from the NFL.
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Kings Ransom

Oct 06, 2009 Season 1 Episode 1

On August 9, 1988, the NHL was forever changed with the single stroke of a pen. The Edmonton Oilers, fresh off their fourth Stanley Cup victory in five years, signed a deal and exported Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian national treasure and the greatest hockey player ever to play the game, to the Los Angeles Kings in a multi-player, multi-million dollar deal. As bewildered Oiler fans struggled to make sense of the unthinkable, fans in Los Angeles were rushing to purchase season tickets at a rate so fast it overwhelmed the Kings box office. Overnight, a franchise largely overlooked in its 21-year existence was suddenly playing to sellout crowds and standing ovations, and a league often relegated to "little brother" status exploded from 21 teams to 30 in less than a decade. Acclaimed director Peter Berg presents the captivating story of the trade that knocked the wind out of an entire country, and placed a star-studded city right at the humble feet of a 27-year-old kid, known simply as "The Great One."
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