ESPN Films' 30 for 30 is an unprecedented documentary series featuring 30 films from some of today's finest storytellers. The first volume, which premiered October 2009 and concluded in December 2010, chronicled 30 stories from the "ESPN era," each of which detail the issues, trends, people, teams or events that transformed the sports landscape since the sports network was founded in 1979.
ESPN tapped into a wide variety of talent in the film industry. Academy Award-winning director, screenwriter and producer Barry Levinson directed "The Band Who Wouldn't Die," about how Balitmore coped without its football team. Ice Cube directed a film about the Raiders entitled, "Straight Out Of L.A." Award-winning documentarian Clifford Bestall and Oscar-nominated Morgan Freeman teamed up to tell how Nelson Mandela and a rugby team started the healing process in South Africa in "The 16th Man."
From Fantasy football to the Colombian drug cartel's odd collision with the world of soccer, the series explored some of the most interesting stories over three decades.
The popularity of the Emmy-nominated and Peabody award-winning 30 for 30 series inspired ESPN to continue with a new season. To see more about the upcoming films, which will be in two different formats, check out the Vol. 2 and Shorts pages.
In 1988, the Edmonton Oilers traded Wayne Gretzky to the L.A. Kings and with the stroke of a pen changed the game forever.
In 1984, moving vans secretly packed the Baltimore Colts' belongings and moved them out of town, leaving a city of fans in disbelief.
With three heavyweight titles, why did Muhammad Ali fight Larry Holmes for a fourth in 1980? What was left for Ali to prove?
In 1983, the United States Football League challenged the almighty NFL, but after a respectable start, was forced to go out of business.
When Len Bias dropped dead two days after the '86 NBA Draft, he forever altered our perception of casual drug use. From potential NBA star to cautionary tale.
When CBS added him as an "analyst" on "The NFL Today," "The Greek" gained an air of respectability never before associated with gamblers.
In the 1980s, America was shifting racially and culturally. The University of Miami football team was a microcosm for this evolution.
The New York Knicks solidified Reggie Miller as Public Enemy No. 1 during the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals.
Paul Westhead wanted to perfect his shoot-first offense at Loyola Marymount. Players Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble gave him the chance.
In 1993, 17-year-old Allen Iverson went bowling in Hampton, Va. What followed ended with the teen in jail and divided a city along racial lines.
Fantasy Sports is a $4 billion industry, but for all of its success, the story of the game's inception is little known.
Ricky Williams recorded himself during his year away from football and beyond. This is the misunderstood athlete's story in his own words.
A year after South Africa ended apartheid, the nearly-all-white ruby team hosted the Rugby World Cup and Nelson Mandela was their biggest fan.
In 1982, the Raiders and owner Al Davis captivated black and Latino fans with swagger and charisma that matched the rapidly changing city.
The LAPD chased O.J. Simpson on June 17th, 1994. On the same day a number of unrelated sports occurrences took place.
Two Escobars uplifted the Colombian soccer team from obscurity. Andre Escobar: team captain. Pablo Escobar: drug lord in the shadows.
Mat Hoffman is one of the pioneers of BMX. His motivation is neither money nor fame; it's the purity of the sport.
The real reason why Michael Jordan quit basketball to play Double-A baseball and subjected himself to what mortal athletes go through daily.
In 1982, the Kirkland, Wash., team played in the Little League World Series Championship. America was facing troubled times and looking for inspiration.
Mike Tyson and Tupac Shakur were good friends. In 1996, they were to celebrate after Tyson's title win, but Shakur never made it.
Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova were fierce tennis rivals in the 1970s and 1980s, but through it all they forged an unbreakable friendship.
A shipbuilder named George Steinbrenner bought the sagging Yankees in 1973. He not only changed the face of a franchise, but also an entire sport.
Terry Fox, an amputee with cancer, attempted running across Canada for cancer awareness. In the process, he captured the heart of a nation.
The Yankees were leading the Red Sox in the ALCS 3-0, a deficit no team had overcome. The Red Sox defied the inevitable.
Vlade Divac and Drazen Petrovic were NBA players who were friends from Yugoslavia. Their friendship ended before Petrovic was killed in a car accident.
NASCAR star Tim Richmond lived fast, until it all caught up with him. He was diagnosed with AIDS, leading to his tragic death.
In 1981, a pudgy 19-year-old Mexican pitcher, Fernando Valenzuela, took the MLB by storm, shattering America's image of the ace pitcher.
From Olympic gold to imprisonment for steroids, this is the story of Marion Jones' evolution.
Marcus Dupree was the biggest, fastest running back in high school history. In college, his career ended before it ever truly began.
Southern Methodist University received the "death penalty" in 1987 because of corruption and greed, stripping a community of its identity.