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ESPN 30 for 30 aka ESPN Documentaries
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jdw
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PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 10:44 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Part 1 of the Celtics-Lakers miniseries was pretty excellent. Had to stop before watching the painful loss in 1984. :P I'll pick it up again Thursday to watch Part 2 and the rest of it.

A little surprised by how little Jabbar talking there is, and frankly how little Bird has talked. I get that McHale is a great storyteller, and Cornbread is excellent on the stick, and you have to cram your Carr stuff into the early part. But Bird isn't bad on the stick. He takes a little work to get relaxed, but I've seen any number of interviewers get good stuff out of him and good stories. Jabbar has always been tough, but he's been far more comfortable talking in his retirement. The local Lakers station did a four part Laker Legends: Showtime Revisited round table with Worthy, Coop, Byron and Cap. Jabbar still isn't the life of the party, but the other three got him to relax to a degree and tell stories and contribute. You just would have thought they'd use more of him in the 30 for 30 given the time they have.

Nixon basically got fucked over. Wilkes has a lot of time, and is good. But Norm is largely ignored. The guy averaged 17-3-8 in four seasons for teams that made it to three Finals and won two of them. He was 4th-2nd-5th-9th in APG in those four seasons, while sharing the ball with the guy who was 7th-inj-2nd-1st in the league. It was one of the joys of that team that they had two players who could lead the break and distribute. Did it reach a point after 1983 where the team needed it more in Magic's hands *and* trying to find a better defensive partner for Magic? Yep. But... they really needed at least one quick cover of him and the dual PG line up.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Thu Jun 29, 2017 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched the 1st part of Celtics-Lakers and overall I thought it was pretty good. Big issue was Donnie Wahlberg was commentating for the Celtics and Ice Cube was commentating on the Lakers. One could argue that ESPN is trying to play a bit of the race card here with the Celtics and Wahlberg representing 'whites' and Ice Cube and the Lakers representing 'blacks.' But the bigger issue is the writing.

Stop using 'we', especially when discussing the 60's teams that were around before you were born. A better tact would have been to get actual celebrity fans from the 60's, then the 70's and then the 80's.

Thankfully, they started to limit Wahlberg's (seriously, couldn't find a bigger celeb than Donnie Drama?) and Cube's commentary as part 1 went along and part 1 became more interesting and less annoying.

Stunning lack of information on Wilt and Jabbar, two centerpieces of the organization. And nothing from Parrish...it's almost like they didn't care for centers.

I would like to see more on the Boston Garden versus the old Forum. To me, that was a central piece on the rivalry as when watching on TV there was such a stark contrast in the two buildings with the Garden being such a dark, cramped, old school crowd versus the eye popping Forum which was so well lit and had the glitz and glamor of the celebrities. One was about basketball and the other was more about energy and fun.


***

I also watched Doc & Darryl which was very good. It was set with Doc and Darryl having a discussion at a NY diner and discussing their careers and time together.

As a diehard Yankees fan, it's almost my duty to hate everything associated with the Mets. Even though Doc and Darryl did end up playing for the Yankees they are really associated with the Mets.

Despite that, I never hated either guy. Both had charismatic personalities in their own right with Darryl being the more outgoing and charming player and Doc being the more humble, babyface type.

Darryl actually looks good. Doc didn't look high, but from his words you could tell he's struggling with addiction.

While Darryl ended up having the longer and better career, people forget how good Doc once was. He looked like the next Sandy Koufax or Warren Spahn with an unhittable 98 mph fastball and an excellent curveball.

They also forget how stacked that 86 Mets team was with Howard Johnson, Kevin Mitchell (fantastic hitter) and Lenny Dykstra as backups. Then they got David Cone in 87 and had super-prospect in Gregg Jefferies coming up. So really the Mets faded just as hard as Doc and Darryl did.

They did miss out on the rumors that the team was doing coke during the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 86 Series.

Anyway, this is how you make a documentary where there is some fandom involved, but that fandom is tempered so the viewer who is not a fanboy can sustain their interest and not be annoyed.





YR
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Sat Aug 05, 2017 7:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mike and the Mad Dog on 30 for 30 was something that I wasn't looking forward to as I was never a fan of the show or either guy. The show was more style than substance. Growing up in NY, M&MD were ridiculously popular. But more often than not you found two fans of the show:

1. Those that bought fully into M&MD

2. Those that were bewildered by the popularity of the M&MD and couldn't stand them.

It's like the scene in Howard Stern's Private Parts...they listen to him because they want to hear what he will say next.

The doc was only 50 minutes long and given the trend of the 30 for 30's being more fanboy docs, I went into this with little hope.

And I was pleasantly surprised by how wrong I was.

Francesa was always the supposed know-it-all who annoying didn't even come close to knowing it all and was very arrogant and pompous. Russo was even more of a gimmick who acted like a spaz and his knowledge of sports was often ridiculously poor. And his command of the English language was unparalleled in their awfulness. For me growing up in NY, I was firmly in the #2 camp...the people who just couldn't believe how over these 2 guys were.

What the documentary did was not only give access to the two, but also opened up their background which allowed the viewer to start to understand the psyche of Francesa and Russo and why act and behave the way they do.

I knew little of Francesa's background before the doc. Having grown up in a heavily Italian neighborhood, I grew up around a lot of Italian kids that were incredibly pampered by their parents. They types if their parents owned a $50,000 home, they would treat the children like they owned a $5 million home. That was always my guess of what Francesa's childhood was like and come to find out I was dead wrong.

I thought Russo was likely a regular schmoe from a middle class family that got by in radio because he sounded different. He sounds like an imbecile, but it was different.

Instead, you see that Francesa grew up with a destitute upbringing while Russo grew up in an upper class environment. Francesa was always a curmudgeon that wouldn't budge an inch and you see how that upbringing forced him to develop a stiff upper lip.

Russo was the radio outsider who got small gigs and since his delivery was so wacky radio people couldn't take him seriously. He ended up living in Francesa's shadow because nobody thought Russo could succeed on his own. And that prompted Russo to do passive aggressive things like have his own jingle when Francesa was away, try to do mornings, etc.

Pretty much every M&MD listener I ever knew portrayed Francesa as the bad guy in the relationship. But when you watch the documentary you start to see that Russo was likely more the asshole in the end.

They did bring up the 9/11 tapes but didn't bring up Phil Muschnick's bullshit allegations. It's almost a shame that they had to acknowledge this. For years I read Mushnick refer to this with such vitriol. Francesa was kind enough to label it as a 'misinterpretation.' I will do Francesa one better...it was an outright lie by Mushnick. Something that serious of an allegation and to so grossly misinterpret it can only be presented as a lie.

They did not go into the allegations that Russo made on SiriusXM that Francesa demanded to be paid more than him. That was a bit disappointing. But, in the end you see the real issue with any of these radio teams...regardless of whether it's sports or comedy or whatever...they are simply not built to last very long. Regardless of the fame and fortune that comes with a successful show...after a while the hosts will get on each other's nerves and they'll break up.





YR
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guren



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PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Richard Deitsch, the media writer for SI, listed his top 10 favorite 30 for 30 documentaries.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 15, 2017 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

OJ Made in America – I have no problem with the argument for being the best, it just wasn’t my favorite. Very long and not the most fun subject to discuss. But from an artistic and cinematic standpoint, it was phenomenal.

Hillsborough – Yes, this was incredible. I will always remember the scene where the government official is making a speech to memorialize the 93 that died and some fan yells out ‘JUSTICE!’ and then the fans start chanting ‘Justice for the 93!’ As powerful a moment as you will ever see in any documentary.

Once Brothers – eh, a good subject matter, but it dragged too much for me.

Two Escobars – incredible. Really captured a lot of footage that you never saw before and was an incredible story with great subject matter.

The Best That Never Was – Excellent film. Typically in stories like this you run into athletes that are more myth than legend but they were able to show enough footage in high school that you could buy into the legend of Marcus Dupree. As well as the nice story between Dupree and the son of one of the men involved in the Mississippi Burning story.

June 17th, 1994 – Solid story and subject matter, incredible footage and access to information and stories and beautifully filmed.

Elway to Marino – incredible, it would go down as one of my favorites. The subject matter was interesting, but Marv Demoffs record of events put this over the top.

Of Miracles and Men – another incredible documentary. Great subject matter, great access to people and information we never had before and put well together.

The U – Have no idea why this on here. It was a fanboy documentary that wasn’t all that interesting nor had powerful subject matter

Fantastic Lies – Yup. Incredible documentary. Powerful with great information. Liked how they took the surprising route of having the parents of the players accused speak for them instead of the players or ‘experts’ on the matter.





YR
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 1:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think my 10 would be:

* Broke

An accessible way to present tough / challenging material that we all would either just as soon ignore or just make jokes about when guys go broke.

* Elway to Marino

This is probably the best made of the traditional sports-style documentaries in the series. They sum up old, well known material in a good way, while breaking some new and/or less well known info. Good time for this to have been made before too many of the key people start passing away.

* Hillsborough

The best sports documentary that I've ever seen.

* O.J.: Made in America

This really isn't a sports doc. It's about society, with sports just a side show in it. This could easily have been even longer, which I think I said earlier in the thread. Just a terrific doc.

* Of Miracles and Men

What Rich said.

* Playing for the Mob

I think this is one of the things the series needs to do to balance out the Big Stories / Famous Stories. This is a small, largely forgotten story. It's well done, setting aside the need to take everything Hill says with giant grains of salt. Since they have so many of the figures involved in interviews, and you get the sense that the producer/director aren't completely buying Henry either, it plays perfectly well.

* Run Ricky Run

Was never a Ricky fan, so I should have hated this. But it's well made and insightful. One certainly comes out of it with a different, more rounded view on Ricky. Given we all had strong views about him, that's extremely hard to pull off.

* The Two Escobars

Another really good doc beyond being viewed as just a sports doc.

* Unmatched

I'm biased as Martina is an idol and hero of mine, while Chris was Chris and the queen of American sports in the 70s who so many of my friends who were girls looked up to. Of all the fanboy 30 for 30s, this is the least fanboy of the bunch. They have a central story to tell of rivalry and friendship, and other stories to tell along the way that color it, and the creative team just lets them largely tell it. It's part conversation between the two, and conversation of each with us. It's really simple in how it's made, but very effective.

* Unguarded

Probably in the big picture, this is a rather generic drug addiction doc. There are likely many dozens of better docs over the years that cover addiction better, deal with it even more brutally and realistic, and just rip your guts out. But in the 30 for 30, this uses the platform well and is well made.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:02 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Here’s my top 10, in order:

10. Broke – Fantastic look at the high percentage of athletes that go broke with fascinating stories and quality footage of those players. Shot very much in Billy Corben’s style…shining a light on the glitz and glamor and then the downfall of those involved. It wasn’t an artistic masterpiece, but it keeps you glued to the TV and is something you don’t mind watching again because it is so riveting.

9. Unguarded – A documentary on the functioning heroin addict in Chris Herren who was extremely charismatic basketball player that everybody pulled for and despite having an out of control opioid addiction, he was able to keep that addiction hidden from his coaches, teammates and family. The depths he went to in his addiction and was still able to keep it hidden from even his wife was incredible.

8. The Band That Wouldn’t Die – I may be the only person that would put this in their Top 10. The footage was excellent, particularly considering this was happening in the early 80’s and they were still able to get quality footage of what was going on. One major part of the story is amazing and inspiring…a group of fans who loved being part of marching that refused to give up their passion for football and being in a band. The other part is horrifying…an owner’s ability to hold a city and its fans hostage and there’s nothing anybody can do about it. In the end, good did not triumph over evil, but good did get what it wanted in the end.

7. The Best That Never Was – While I prefer the Band that Wouldn’t Die as a personal favorite, this was the better documentary. The exploitation of black athletes by whites and blacks alike, be it white or black coaches or black pastors. Most of these documentaries on legends end up being more myth than actual legend. But that was not the case with Marcus Dupree who could go down as the greatest high school football player ever that was on pace to be the best college RB ever. Adding to that is Dupree comes off as a genuinely nice and likeable person that grew up in a community with deep ties to the Klan and how he ended up forging a bond with people with relational ties to the Klan in the end.

6. The Two Escobars – The cinematography and footage was really tremendous here and that alone puts it in the top-10. Combined with the compelling story of Andres and Pablo Escobar and the connections between both men’s murders and you have a top notch documentary.

5. Elway to Marino – This did not have the social impact that the films I just listed had, but for a football fan it was the greatest draft class of all time that was filled with an enormous amount of twists, turns and swerves that were all recorded by Marin Demoff back in 1983. You think about the scenarios of John Elway being drafted by San Francisco with Joe Montana being traded to Baltimore or Marino going to play for the Steelers or Jim Kelly playing for the Patriots, etc and all of the dealings behind that and it makes for a tremendous doc.

4. Hillborough – government corruption is the result after government incompetence gets 93 people killed. It was bad enough that the English media bought into the bullshit hook, line and sinker, but so did so many of the English people. The survivors showing their outrage over the incident as the governement stooped to a new low to protect themselves. And if you have never seen people crushed in overcrowding before…you may not want to as it was one of the most gruesome things I’ve ever seen in my life.

3. Into the Wind – The inspiring and heartbreaking story of Terry Fox’s attempt to walk thru Canada on one leg to raise awareness and funds for cancer. It shows some of the best of man and the worst of man. From his coach telling the story of a woman that saw Terry in a park with his one leg and yelling at him to ‘get that freak out of here!’ to the rudeness of the drivers in Quebec to the media falsely claiming that Fox had skipped some distances. But, to the incredible story of Fox’s will and the helpfulness of his friends and family along with the downtown celebration that the city of Toronto held for Fox as he was making his trip. If this does yank on your emotions, you may not have a heart.

2. Fantastic Lies – Fantastic Lies taps into so many major issues the country is facing. The growing divide between black and white. The growing divide between men and women. The corruption of DA’s offices and how elected officials are more worried about winning the court of public opinion instead of doing the right thing. And the media having evolved into a ‘report now, ask questions later’ approach. Two powerful moments happened here…when the lawyers for the defendants needed to get an expert on DNA and one of the lawyers studied DNA for the first time that week and then had to make the ‘all or nothing’ move of trying to expose DNA expert, Brian Meehan. And the speech that lacrosse player, David Evans, made on behalf of himself and his teammates condemning Mike Nifong, the media and black activists for their role in these accusations.


1. OJ Made in America – It wasn’t my favorite, but it was the best documentary of the series thus far. The length of the documentary was a bit of overkill and the OJ subject has been tackled countless times. But they finally got ahold of jurors along with other new information that had not been presented before. One could argue that the OJ case forever set back race relations in this country which is significant enough to continue to talk about the case.
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guren



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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for your lists and reviews. I just recently subscribed to Amazon Prime, so I can finally start watching some of these shows. I've already seen O.J. and a couple of others, so I will probably start with Broke, The Two Escobars, and Hillsborough.

glenn
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jdw
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Into the Wind is really terrific.
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Tue Aug 29, 2017 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

What Carter Lost is definitely a must watch 30 for 30. It harkens back to the older 30 for 30's which is what the fans of the series fell in love with. If you want to see corruption in sports...there's no better place than Texas and no better time than the 1980's.

I don't think it's top-10, but it's close. And this is coming from a person that hates many of the people in the show like Randy Galloway, Dale Hansen, Jean Jacques Taylor and Royce West (con man if there ever was one). I did have to laugh at Galloway blaming the media for hype and hysteria surrounding the Carter Cowboys players when they show his articles that he wrote about them. At least Hansen blamed himself and fellow media members for much of craziness involved with high school football in Texas.

There was one reporter (can't remember his name) that did commentary on the news that had an excellent op-ed on the entire situation and I was disappointed they never took the opportunity to interview him.

I did find that the claim that Carter High School was a 'good school' to be a bit unlikely when the players talked about not going to class when they didn't like it and constantly playing craps in the bathroom during school hours. I don't think Carter was the worst of schools as all of the former players were fairly well spoken, polite and appeared fairly intelligent. But, I still think it was heavily a football-first school.

The biggest tragedy I find in What Carter Lost was that almost all of the kids involved came from good homes with both their mother and father at home. Unfortunately, it's somewhat expected to see kids from single parent homes to get in trouble with the law. But that didn't seem to exist with the Carter High kids and it was very powerful message being sent when they interviewed the parents of those kids (now grown men).

In the end, there's some redemption in the story, but given their past and how they had ever reason to not make such terrible decisions, you have to wonder what their future holds. Either way, it's still an incredible waste of talent during what should have been the best time of their lives.





YR
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 15, 2017 11:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Year of the Scab was very good as it marked a continuation of recent 30 for 30's that resembled more of the old school 30 for 30's instead of the fanboy pieces that make you wonder why they were made in the first place.

As a Cowboys fan, over the years I had heard about the infamous 1987 game vs. the Skins where the Cowboys lost to the Skins in Dallas to a Skins team that was mostly replacement players.

What The Year of the Scab points out is that there's little to be proud of for Skins fans in the end as the way the Skins handled that situation wasn't very good either.

The footage was very good here as well as they were able to get ahold of several of the replacement players who could vividly remember what they went thru. I'm a Cowboys fan, so I'll take my shots at the Skins such as them claiming that they were rooting for their replacement players which directly contradicts how they protested them during the strike to the point where Daryl Grant punched out the window of the bus the replacement players took to go to their first practice.

But, the Cowboys don't look very good here as Tex Schramm held several players' retirement money over their head and forced them to cross the picket line. I never said Tex wasn't an asshole.

In the end, it plays out like your typical story...everybody loses except for the gazillionaire owners. The strike players are long forgotten and discarded. I got a kick out of Joe Gibbs telling the world how important the replacement players were and then in the very next question doubting that they deserved a Super Bowl ring. What a prick. And the actual players had to go back with their tail tucked between their legs.

This may be a foretelling tale when the current CBA runs out. The players no longer trust the owners and certainly no longer trust Goodell. They were sandbagged by the owners who claimed welfare only to strike up big deals after the CBA was reached. And to make matters worse, DeMaurice Smith (who I actually like) made the stupid decision to make a 10-year deal when a 3-year or 5-year deal is more consistent with CBA's. I think now the NFLPA is going to be better prepared to go on strike and I can't imagine the owners thinking that replacement players are even an option at this point.

Anyway, this is worth watching. As they say, 80% of judging documentaries is the subject matter. This probably doesn't have the subject matter worth a top-10 of the 30 for 30's, but it's certainly good enough and well executed to be just outside the top-10.






YR
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 7:13 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Nature Boy 30 for 30 aired last night. I think Flair is probably the best candidate for a 30 for 30 because of his stature in the business and he’s had quite the eclectic life. They discussed his upbringing, then him training with Verne (I didn’t know that Steamboat also trained under Verne, too). Then his plane crash and him developing into the Nature Boy and becoming the World Champion.

They were a little out of sequence in the timeline of events a few times and they really didn’t go into the problems he had with Eric Bischoff. I also thought that they failed to mention the politics game that he and Hogan were playing against each other. I was actually surprised by how much Hogan put Flair over in the doc. And they neglected the issue that numerous wrestlers had against Flair like The Undertaker, Foley, Scott Steiner, etc.

This came off a lot like a WWE documentary in the sense that they did give him praise and went into his issues, but they picked what negatives they wanted to air about him. When you’re doing a doc like this that goes into the entire life of a person, I don’t think you can really just pick and choose what negatives you are willing to delve into about the person. And they tried to wrap it up with Flair’s girlfriend being the ‘calming influence’ on his life and his son’s death really turning him around. We’ve heard stuff like this about Flair before and quite frankly…if he doesn’t die soon then he’s bound to screw up and hurt his loved one’s lives, again.

And for that, it wasn’t quite the grand slam of a documentary that I’m sure every wrestling fan and ‘reporter’ will claim it was. It was very well done overall and I enjoyed it, but something was just a little bit off to take it to that level.




YR
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JAG



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PostPosted: Wed Nov 08, 2017 2:46 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The best part was a clip of Jumbo Tsuruta selling with Flair explaining what great selling is.

;)

Jagdip
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guren



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PostPosted: Sat Nov 11, 2017 3:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bix of Deadspin on the Flair 30 for 30: ESPN's 30 For 30 On Ric Flair Glorifies Decades Of Sexual Misconduct
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Yakuza Rich



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PostPosted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 8:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I watched Baltimore Boys last night...the story of the 1981-1983 Dunbar High School team which featured Muggsy Bogues, David Wingate, Reggie Williams and Reggie Lewis. They were undefeated for the last 2 years and is arguably the greatest high school team of all time.

What amazes me about the Dunbar team is compared to the other great teams like Power Memorial (Manhattan), Oak Hill Academy, St Anthony's, etc. is that they were truly a public high school that picked up solely local students. Power Memorial and St. Anthony's has almost exclusively local student athletes, but they were picking up players from all 5 boroughs, New Jersey, Connecticut, Long Island and even Westchester County. Whereas Dunbar was getting athletes that were from their school zoning district.

They do go into Reggie Lewis' death. I didn't even know that Lewis was part of the Dunbar team. I didn't remember much of Lewis' death and they showed both sides of the story and it was a travesty. Having a mother that was recently killed by malpractice it is amazing to me that Lewis' doctor was able to get away with it. It's certainly a sad part of the doc, but it's also something that makes the viewer angry in how Lewis was treated.

And there is an overriding theme of the doc that it ends sadly. However, I found that to not be true despite Lewis' tragic death. To me, it was a story taht should be told with pride as you had arguably the greatest high school basketball team ever that had 3 kids drafted in the first round of the NBA and the other one (Wingate) drafted with the 1st pick of the 2nd round. And it wasn't a story of a bunch of kids that rise to fame too quickly, get in trouble with the law and drugs and have sordid histories.

Instead, they all went to college, never had trouble with the law or drugs and were well respected people leading quality lives. All in the face of the violence and drugs in inner city Baltimore.

The doc also has some great footage of Muggsy who was fantastic to watch and talks a lot to Bob Wade who got a bad rep from his time at Maryland, but was practically a saint as the head coach at Dunbar.

The documentary follows more of the earlier 30 for 30 style, but unfortunately it got about zero hype from ESPN.







YR
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