Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody Award-winning, Producer’s Guild Award-winning and Emmy-nominated 30 for 30 film series. Inspired by ESPN’s 30th Anniversary, the films that made up the series were a thoughtful and innovative reflection on the past three decades told through the lens of diverse and interesting sports fans and social commentators.
Be sure to tune in to our ESPN Films marathon from 3pm AEDT December 31st.
Recently released on ESPN:
In 1996, the once-dominant New York Islanders were in serious trouble. Lousy performance and poor management were driving away the hockey franchise's loyal fan base. The team hit bottom. Then along came a Dallas businessman named John Spano, who swooped in and agreed to buy the team for 165 million dollars. Things began to look up for the Islanders - way up. But it was all smoke and mirrors. Big Shot goes inside an extraordinary scandal that engulfed the Islanders. Featuring the only interview Spano has ever given about the Islanders deal, this film is an unforgettable tale of a dream that became a lie - and how a scam of such epic proportions initially went undetected.
When Jimmy Connors arrived in New York for the 1991 U.S. Open, the one-time tennis superstar was 8 years removed from his last Grand Slam singles title, ranked 174th in the world and approaching his 39th birthday. Not exactly a recipe for success. But on the verge of a quick first-round exit, Connors suddenly and unexpectedly re-captured the magic, embarking on a stirring and extraordinary run than included an epic contest with Aaron Krickstein on his way to the semifinals. This is What They Want not only illuminates this highly improbably march past a series of talented and youthful adversaries, it also explores how Connors became a polarizing and provocative personality who helped make tennis a high-octane spectator sport.
When basketball fans mention Bernard King, we conjure the same image: a prolific scorer, a fierce competitor and an NBA legend. But few are aware of what made King the man he is today. King is a notoriously enigmatic figure, but one of those who knows him best is Ernie Grunfeld. Both are from the New York City area, yet their hardwood paths only crossed once in high school. They joined forces at the University of Tennessee. Soon dubbed “The Bernie & Ernie Show,” the duo averaged 50 points a game, the most potent 1-2 punch in college basketball. But behind closed doors, their experiences were vastly different. Bernie & Ernie is the story of an unlikely friendship, forged over four decades, between two men who shared little in common except the game of basketball.
Youngstown Boys is a feature documentary exploring class and power dynamics in college sports through the parallel, interconnected journeys of Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel. These two stars emerged from opposite sides of the tracks in Youngstown, Ohio. They joined together for a magic season at Ohio State University in 2002 and a national championship. Shortly thereafter, Clarett was banished from college football and began a downward spiral that ended with a prison term. Tressel continued at Ohio State for another eight years before his career there also ended in scandal. Now, both Youngstown Boys are attempting to reinvent themselves and resurrect their lives.
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