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Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel

Photo Credit:  Nathaniel Welch / HBO
  • Premiered: 
    April 2, 1995
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: HBO
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Newsmagazine
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Sports
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Plot Synopsis

REAL SPORTS is a monthly, one-hour program that presents enterprising features, exclusive interviews and in-depth investigations, as each episode has three or four segments that cover famous sports figures, sports' impact on society, or problems afflicting sports. In January 2012, REAL SPORTS received its second duPont Award for excellence in broadcast journalism, when Columbia University recognized the show for its series of investigative reports on concussions, highlighted by the August 2010 story revealing the scientific link between sports concussions and the onset of ALS. This program entered its 19th season on Tuesday, January 23, 2013, with features about: football player Royce White, who discussed his anxiety disorder; rapper Luther Campbell, who coaches high school football in his native Miami neighborhood; and Pakistani athlete Maria Toor Pakay, who was threatened by Taliban leaders. REAL SPORTS returned for its 20th season on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO, with the season premiere featuring these segments: marijuana use in the NFL, coming to prominence with a Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, who both hail from states that recently legalized the drug; an interview with former NFL player Boomer Esiason, who discusses his nine-year NFL career and his foundation, which has raised more than $100 million to fight cystic fibrosis; and a profile of Sacramento Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, who talks one on one with correspondent Bernard Goldberg and discusses how he kept the Kings from moving. On Tuesday, January 20, 2015 at 10pm ET/PT, HBO presented the Season 21 premiere of REAL SPORTS. The season opener featured these four segments: Monsters No More; Mr. Sunday Night; The Toast of Beijing; and Urban Renewal. HBO premiered the 22nd season of REAL SPORTS on Tuesday, January 26, 2016 at 10pm ET/PT, with a season opener that featured three stories: Questionable Care (with correspondent Jon Frankel), highlighting the day-to-day medical care decision in college football; The Gypsy King (with correspondent David Scott), featuring Wladimir Klitschko, who dominated the heavyweight division for more than a decade -- until Nov. 28, 2015; and Marijuana in the NFL (with correspondent Andrea Kremer), with a followup to REAL SPORTS' initial report in January 2014 about the NFL's prohibition of marijuana, which found some players prefer it to opiate-based painkillers like Vicodin and Oxycodone for pain management.
The 23rd season of REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL premiered on Tuesday, January 24, 2017 at 10pm ET/PT on HBO. Segments in the season opener include:

A Football Tragedy: Strong and fearless, former University of Alabama fullback Kevin Turner was an old-school football player who loved getting hit as much as he loved dishing it out. He spent eight years in the NFL with the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles, achieving the things he'd dreamed of as a boy. But after Turner left the game in 1999, those dreams turned to nightmares as he developed an addiction to painkillers, suffered from depression and was ultimately diagnosed with the terminal disease ALS in 2010. Shortly after that diagnosis, REAL SPORTS correspondent Jon Frankel began documenting Turner's life as his body deteriorated and he came to grips with the fact that the game he loved had probably caused his ALS. Over six years of shooting, Turner also revealed how he wrestled with allowing his son, Nolan, to play football, and the comfort he received knowing he would do so under the guidance of former Alabama teammate Dabo Swinney, the Clemson University head coach who recently led his team to a national championship. Turner passed away last year at age 46. Producer: Nick Dolin.

Dreams Deferred: Marshall High on Chicago's West Side was one of the main settings of the iconic 1994 sports documentary HOOP DREAMS, which spotlighted inner-city poverty. At the time, Marshall players were unaffected by the gun violence that now ravages the city, because gangs treated athletes as a protected class. But today, more than 20 years later, some of Chicago's finest basketball players have become victims of shootings, just like other members of the community. Host Bryant Gumbel travels to his hometown in the wake of one of the deadliest years Chicago has ever seen to meet Shawn Harrington, a former player and assistant coach at Marshall High, who details the violence he's witnessed and suffered first-hand. Gumbel also sits down with Arthur Agee, one of the stars of HOOP DREAMS, as well as a current Marshall player to explore why young star athletes are no longer shielded from the effects of guns. Producer: Maggie Burbank.

A Beautiful Mind: John Urschel holds bachelor's and master's degrees in mathematics from Penn State, but his 6' 3", 300-pound-plus frame was made for football. By day, the 25-year-old is an offensive lineman for the Baltimore Ravens; away from the gridiron, Urschel is pursuing a Ph.D. in mathematics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Despite the seemingly sharp contrast between high-level thinking and violent, high-impact sports, Urschel believes many similarities exist between his two very different careers. REAL SPORTS correspondent Bernard Goldberg sits down with Urschel to discuss his road to the NFL, future in mathematics and decision to continue playing football, despite the increased risk of brain injury. Producer: Beret Remak.