A Gift for Your Favourite Guy: ESPN 30 For 30
“Sports all the time? That’s never going to work. This thing is going to be a financial and cultural disaster. SportsCenter? Think about that. That’s just dumb.”
Oh Ron Burgundy, if you only knew what the Entertainment and Sports Programming Network, or simply ESPN, would turn in to.
Sure, we were laughing when Will Ferrell’s character in Anchorman went on that rambling tirade, but when ESPN first debuted in 1979, it did seem a bit crazy. How would they fill 24 hours with sports coverage?
Well, they relied on programming the big networks ignored: Australian rules football, boxing, college football, the CFL and even exercise programs provided content, alongside their flagship show SportsCenter, for the burgeoning cable network station.
But when professional sports began to spring up on ESPN in the early ’80s, everything changed. First it was the National Basketball Association, then the National Football League, National Hockey League and finally Major League Baseball. ESPN was at the forefront of broadcasting, reporting and commentating on sports.
The station revolutionized, and continues to revolutionize, the way we consume sports and last year it celebrated its 30th anniversary the greatest way possible – creating a documentary series, 30 For 30, which retold 30 of the greatest sport stories.
And these weren’t run-of-the-mill documentaries examining championship teams and great sports figures. The series focused on events, people and moments that we may have forgotten (but shouldn’t have) or told with an unique angle by esteemed directors including Peter Berg, Michael Tollin and Steve James.
Today ESPN releases 30 For 30, Volume One. It covers the first fifteen documentaries, highlighted by Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL?, the very entertaining but sad story of the football league that could have been (with most people blaming Donald Trump for its demise); Without Bias, which outlines how basketball star Len Bias died before he played his first professional game; and Straight Outta L.A., the extremely interesting tale of how the L.A. Raiders captured the imagination and loyalty of L.A.’s multicultural population.
This box set is the ultimate gift for any sports fan. Well, until Volume Two comes out, that is.
Click here, to purchase on Amazon.