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30 for 30

30 for 30

Thirty_for_thirty_241x208
Photo Credit:  ESPN
  • Premiered: 
    October 6, 2009
    (Click date to see TV listings for that day)

  • Network: ESPN
  • Category: Series
  • Genre: Documentary
  • Type: Live Action
  • Concept: 
  • Subject Matter: Sports
  • Tags:

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  • Season 3: Films 1-15
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Legal Full Episodes
Not Available Online
(That We Know Of)

Plot Synopsis

In honor of its 30th anniversary, ESPN commissioned 30 filmmakers to make one-hour documentaries about any topics from the past 30 years in sports. Shown weekly, this documentary series lets veterans and up-and-comers use their own visions and voices to tell their favorite, touching, and important sports stories. Here's a sample: John Singleton tells the story of Marion Jones; Barry Levinson recaps the 1984 defection of the Baltimore Colts to Indianapolis in "The Band That Wouldn't Die"; Steve James presents "The Trial of Allen Iverson"; Peter Berg tells about the impact of The Great One in "The Kings Ransom"; Ice Cube gives us "Straight Outta LA". In October 2012, 30 FOR 30 VOL. II hit the airwaves, with: "Broke," about American athletes who often end up filing for bankruptcy; "9.79*," about Ben Johnson in the 100-meter final at the 1988 Seoul Games; "There's No Place Like Home," the story of one fan's obsessive quest to win an auction or James Naismith's original rules of basketball; "Benji," highlighting the murder of 17-year-old Ben Wilson in 1984 Chicago; "Ghosts of Ole Miss," featuring the violence and unbeaten football team at the University of Mississippi in 1962; "You Don't Know Bo," about the myths and legends of Bo Jackson; and more. 30 FOR 30 returned with new episodes in the second part of Season 2 on October 1, 2013 on ESPN, showcasing new films each Tuesday through the beginning of November. In the first episode, "Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau" (directed by Sam George), the life of the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer and pioneering lifeguard is chronicled. Other episodes in Fall 2013 included: "Free Spirts" (directed by Daniel H. Forer), which chronicle the story of the Spirits of St. Louis, one of the ABA basketball teams that didn't join the NBA in 1976 as part of the merger; "No Mas" (directed by Eric Drath), which reveals what really happened in the second fight between Sugar Ray Leonard and Robert Duran; "Big Shot" (directed by Kevin Connolly), exploring how John Spano purchased the New York Islanders in 1996 for $165 million -- without having the assets; "This Is What They Want" (directed by Brian Koppelman and David Levien), chronicling a 39-year-old Jimmy Connors playing at the US Open when he unforgettably looked at the courtside camera to say "This is what they come for. This is what they want."; and "Tonya and Nancy" (directed by Nanette Burstein), taking a fresh look at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games incident when Nancy Kerrigan was clubbed on the right knee after a practice session on January 6, 1994. Volume III of 30 FOR 30 premiered on Tuesday, October 13 2015 at 9pm ET/6pm PT on ESPN, with a new episode each Tuesday for five consecutive weeks. Film topics include the rise and fall of USC football under head coach Pete Carroll, a city and its mayor fighting against the odds to keep the Kings in Sacramento, the ultimately tragic story of the turbulent relationship between Olympic wrestling stars Mark and Dave Schultz and multimillionaire John du Pont, an exploration of Bill McCartney and his controversial approach running the University of Colorado football program on the way to a national championship, and Evander Holyfield's years of waiting to fight the famed Mike Tyson and make history. The season opener, "Trojan War," picks up when Pete Carroll took over the football program at USC after the 2000 season, the once-great Trojans were under siege. But thanks to his football knowledge, upbeat personality and recruiting skills, Southern Cal was soon back atop the college football world as home attendance skyrocketed, Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush won Heismans and the Trojans put together a 34-game winning streak. As it would be later discovered, though, the program was committing sins that would result in lost scholarships, victories and one of those Heismans. But those revelations didn't come until after the national championship game in the 2006 Rose Bowl between USC and the University of Texas. Featuring interviews with Carroll, Leinart and others inside the USC program at the time, "Trojan War" looks at Carroll's nine-year USC reign through the prism of that game, considered one of the greatest in college football history. It was also the beginning of the end.
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On Tuesday, December 11, 2018 at 9pm ET/6pm PT, ESPN premiered "42 to 1," the latest installment of 30 FOR 30. The one-hour film, co-directed by Ben Houser and Jeremy Schaap, chronicles one of the most famous upsets in sports history: Buster Douglas' shocking knockout of the then-undefeated Mike Tyson. Tyson was the most feared fighter of modern times. Douglas, meanwhile, was dismissed as a 42 to 1 underdog. No one thought he had the heart required of a champion. But at the Tokyo Dome on February 11, 1990, Douglas came to fight. Defying opinion, he proved to everyone that there was greatness in him. This is a film about how Douglas pulled off a victory that changed the course of sports history, channeling the absolute best version of himself, if only for one fight, when it mattered most and no one thought it was possible.

Production & Distribution

  • Some episodes produced by Asylum Entertainment