Most of us are trying to do best for our neighbors by staying away from them during this world pandemic. That leaves a lot of time for reading or binge-watching.
But all of us are feeling the void of sports in our life. Some sports networks are trying to provide some relief by playing old sporting events, including March Madness classics.
Many of us hope ESPN will speed up its release or its latest 30-for-30 project, The Last Dance — a 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan and the 1990s Chicago Bulls.
In the meantime, I suggest you dive into ESPN’s great 30-for-30 archive. The series of documentaries — an idea by former ESPN columnist Bill Simmons — began as a 30-film celebration for ESPN’s 30th anniversary in 2009. But ESPN has created 157 episodes of 30-for-30 films during the last 12 years.
I have watched many, though not all of them. This week, I plan to watch one I have not yet been able to cross off my list: Fritz Marshall’s Ghosts of Ole Miss.
But in case you’re in need of some in-house entertainment, I’ve listed 10 of my favorite 30-for-30 films as well as some quick honorable mention suggestions.
- The Marinovich Project: What happens when a father goes too far in pushing his son to be a great athlete? Former USC star and NFL quarterback Todd Marinovich tells his story.
- Mike and the Mad Dog: If you enjoy sports radio, this exploration of the godfather of sports radio shows is a fun ride.
- Nature Boy: This documentary seemed to make Ric Flair more popular now than ever.
- The Good, The Bad and The Hungry: Kinda weird, but it’s what makes competitive eating so interesting.
- The Last Days of Knight: An in-depth look at what got Bob Knight fired at Indiana.
- Rodman: For Better or Worse: The man is complicated.
- I Hate Christian Laettner: A great exploration of why the Duke great was disliked (and somewhat mischaracterized).
- The Two Bills: A rare glimpse into Bill Belichick, focused on his relationship with Bill Parcells.
- Elway to Marino: A fun look at the legendary draft of 1983 — including John Elway flexing his leverage and Dan Marino falling — which featured three Hall of Fame quarterbacks and two guys with Illini connections: Tony Eason and Gill Byrd.
- Catching Hell: Cubs fans beware, but this deep dive at the Steve Bartman story is worth your time.
- This Magic Moment: Penny and Shaq looked destined for a dynasty, but this documentary looks at why it fell apart.
- Kings Ransom: How do you trade The Great One? The first-ever 30-for-30 is a fun look at a Canadian team trading the greatest ever hockey player, Wayne Gretzky, who goes Hollywood.
- Small Potatoes: Who Killed the USFL: Filmed in 2009, this documentary about the USFL is even more compelling now thanks to an interview with future U.S. president Donald J. Trump.
- Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks: This film is just over an hour, but this is just a light, fun look at a brief, heated rivalry.
- Run Ricky Run: Would Ricky Williams be as criticized today as he was a decade or two ago?