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ESPN Films is a production company that is owned by the ESPN cable television network. ESPN films have numerous successful products under its banner. Some of its most popular television programs include, Pardon the Interruption, which is a daily sports talk show hosted by Michael Wilbon and Tony Kornheiser. ESPN Films also produces Jim Rome is Burning, a talk show hosted by the controversial Jim Rome. Around the Horn is another daily talk show that ESPN Films produces.

Not only does ESPN Films produce daily and weekly shows, they also produce live events like The ESPY Awards, The X-Games and The World Series of Poker. ESPN Films also attempted to produce two dramatic television series. These were set in the world of sports and were titled Playmakers and Tilt. Despite good reviews, the shows each only lasted one season each.

ESPN Films doesn't limit their product to just television shows or projects. They also have made several films, mostly about sports. Some of the subjects of these films have been Pete Rose, Kobe Bryant, Dale Earnhardt, Vince Lombardi and Bobby Knight. They produced a mini-series titled The Bronx in Burning that told the story of the 1978 New York Yankees.

Perhaps the most popular programs produced by ESPN Films were the 30 for 30 documentaries. They have made almost 50 different editions of these programs. Each time on 30 for 30 a major Hollywood director or figure who has a hand in its direction or production introduces the subject. The series was the brainchild of ESPN writer Bill Simmons. The idea behind the series was to tell personal stories in the confines of the 60 minute program. The first 30 for 30 documentary was by film director Peter Berg. It chronicled the story of Wayne Gretzky's trade form the Edmonton Oilers to the Los Angeles Kings. Other documentary subjects included Bo Jackson, Jimmy The Greek Snyder, Ricky Williams, Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali, Fernando Valenzuela and Magic Johnson. Other documentarians who produced shows for the series included Barry Levinson, Steve James, Ice Cube, Johnny Knoxville, Spike Jonze, Morgan Spurlock and Steve Nash.

ESPN
2 Seasons, 43 Episodes
September 27, 2011
Sports
7.3/10
Cast: Sylvester Croom, Terrence Howard, Patrick Buchanan, Chris Fowler
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ESPN Films Full Episode Guide

  • In 1992, a young filmmaker named Mike Tollin chronicled one season in the lives of the Morningside High basketball team in Inglewood, California. They were the defending state champions, and all five starters were returning for their senior year. They seemed a shoo-in to win a second straight state title, and the five guys all thought they were on a path to become the next Jordan. However, the season didn't go quite as planned. Tollin never forgot the magic of the Morningside 5 and paints an intimate portrait of 25 years in the lives of these five men from Inglewood. A story of friendship, failure, striving and, ultimately, redemption.

  • In the early 1980s, the city of Baltimore was reeling, but in the city's troubled East Baltimore neighborhood, there was one beacon of hope: The Dunbar High School boys basketball team. Over two seasons, they went 59-0, and 11 players on their rosters went off to Division I programs. Directors Marquis Daisy and Sheldon Candis chronicle the journey of four boys and their coach, who reached heights that they couldn't have imagined, even if their saga was capped by a tragedy that made some wonder how far they ever really got away.

  • The remarkable story of two extraordinary men linked by alphabet, alliteration, and fate. Jerry Jones and Jimmy Johnson teamed up to help lead the 1964 Arkansas Razorbacks football squad to its only undefeated season in history, long before they joined forces to win two Super Bowls with the NFL's Dallas Cowboys. Back then, they were vital senior members of the 1964 undefeated team that won a national championship, and in time, they came to be two of the biggest men in the NFL.

  • Roberto Clemente went from a humble upbringing in Puerto Rico to become the National League Most Valuable Player in 1966 and a World Series hero for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1960 and 1971. Along the way, Clemente faced numerous obstacles: injuries, an antagonistic press corps and the racial injustices of the time. Inspired by the civil rights movement, Clemente became an unwavering defender of minorities, an advocate for Latino players' rights, and a great humanitarian.

  • The likes of Florida's back-to-back National Championship wins in 2006 and 2007 may never be seen again. A starting line-up of college basketball players spurned multi-million dollar opportunities in the NBA for the chance to win it again. Joakim Noah, Al Horford, Corey Brewer, Taurean Green, and Lee Humphrey, led by head coach Billy Donovan, learned togetherness, loyalty, and how to deliver a championship when a championship is expected.

  • Twenty years ago, LSU baseball player Warren Morris became the only man ever to hit a walk off home run to end the College World Series, and it was his only home run of the season. Recovering from a broken bone in his right hand, Morris could barely swing a bat. Still, legendary LSU coach Skip Bertman inserted him into the lineup in the title game of the College World Series against the University of Miami.

  • If her story were only about basketball, Ruthie Bolton would be a legend. Bolton far exceeded expectations when she led Auburn to three SEC titles and two NCAA championship games, then went on to win two Olympic gold medals. But it was Ruthie Bolton's courage during and after her playing career ended that ultimately defines her. After surviving years of domestic abuse, she has opened up about her experiences and has become a powerful advocate for women who live in fear of their spouses.

  • In 1956, on the University of Missouri campus, Norm Stewart was the man. In the spring he threw a no-hitter for the baseball team. In the winter he led the basketball team in scoring. Unlike most big men on campus, whose exploits drift into folklore, Norm's best days were ahead of him. In 1967 Norm would become the Mizzou men's basketball head coach. As much as his program-leading 634 wins endeared him to the fans, his fiery style and loyalty to the state that raised him made "Norm" a Missouri legend.

  • Life was never easy for Derrick Thomas. At the age of 5, his father, an Air Force pilot, was lost in Vietnam during a flying mission. As an adolescent growing up in a rough Miami neighborhood, Thomas ran afoul of the law and found himself in front of a judge who would give him a second chance. He turned his life around, became a star on the gridiron and attracted the attention of the University of Alabama, where he established himself as arguably the greatest pass rusher in college football history.

  • On April 23, 2013, the oaks at Toomer's Corner had to be removed. More than two years earlier, those trees at Auburn University's historic landmark had been poisoned, casting a dark shadow over the school. Meanwhile, the Auburn football team went from National Champions in 2010 to the bottom of the SEC by 2012. Head coach Gene Chizik was fired and replaced by Gus Malzahn, the offensive coordinator of that national title team. Expectations were bleak entering the 2013 season, as Malzahn inherited a team coming off its worst season in 60 years. What followed was one of the biggest single-season turnarounds in college football history - a year of implausible finishes, cinematic heroics, games for the ages...and, eventually, the symbolic return of those mighty oaks.

  • Danny Wuerffel was on top of the world at the end of the 1996 college football season. The University of Florida quarterback had just won the Heisman Trophy and led the Gators to a National Championship. But drafted by the New Orleans Saints in the spring of 1997, he struggled to attain the same kind of success in the NFL. It was in that first year as a pro that he began volunteering in New Orleans' Desire neighborhood, one of the poorest locales in the country. After Hurricane Katrina devastated his Desire Street Academy in late August 2005, Wuerffel took the lead in tracking down his students, established a new location for the school in Florida, and expanded his outreach to help several more communities in the southeastern United States. He continued his efforts while battling a life-threatening illness. Now, ten years removed from the costliest natural disaster in American history, Wuerffel returns to New Orleans to dedicate the rebuilding of the Desire Community Square and further the cause he joined two decades ago.

  • When Rick Pitino was hired to coach the Kentucky basketball team in 1989, the once-proud program was reeling from NCAA probation and the loss of scholarships. He needed to shake things up and give the players who stayed a fresh perspective. To help achieve this, in 1990 he hired Bernadette Locke, only the second female assistant coach in Division I men's basketball history. A former star point guard with the University of Georgia, Locke brought knowledge, spirit and academic discipline to the Wildcats. In two years, Kentucky basketball returned to prominence and, though still undermanned by the loss of scholarships, the Wildcats made it all the way to the Elite 8 in 1992. As Pitino and her fellow assistants Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith attest, Coach Bernie made a difference.

  • Grantland Features' first full-length documentary, Son of the Congo, chronicles Oklahoma City Thunder star Serge Ibaka's improbable journey from his native Congo and return home as a top echelon NBA player. The film follows Ibaka's return home to war-stricken Congo to recount the poignant story of his childhood and confront the stark reality faced by a new generation of Congolese youth. Ibaka revisits the neighborhoods where he once slept in empty lots and practiced basketball without shoes. With grace and generosity, Ibaka receives and supports an endless stream of friends and strangers who hope he can change their lives through his unshakeable faith that a better future is only possible if you never stop trying.

  • Before the basketball world came to know him as "The Human Highlight Film," a teenage Dominique Wilkins quickly became the toast of his new hometown of Washington, North Carolina. The 6'8" basketball star led the Pam Pack to 56 straight victories and two state titles. But when he chose the University of Georgia over local ACC schools, the cheers turned to jeers and resentment twisted the high school highlights into a lowlight. That betrayal left 'Nique distrustful of fans until a community of support in Georgia convinced him otherwise and paved the way for his return home.

  • Narrated by Louisiana native and music superstar Tim McGraw, follow former basketball great Shaquille O'Neal as he returns to LSU to visit with Dale Brown, the coach who helped make it all possible. The relationship between these two men goes back to the time when Shaq was 13 and living on an army base in Germany when he asked the coach for some exercise tips. Since that day, O'Neal has received at least one letter or email from Brown every week--and a lot more of them during their three years together in Baton Rouge. Back then, they might have seemed very different, but they forged a deep friendship that they cherish to this day.

  • The tale of the 2011 Cricket World Cup and India's come from behind victory- the culmination of a journey that illustrates how a sport and one man, Sachin Tendulkar, redefined the rise of a nation over the course of a few weeks.

  • The SEC is in Steve Spurrier's blood. He grew up in Tennessee as a fan of the Volunteers. He won the Heisman Trophy as the quarterback for the University of Florida, and then came back to coach the Gators to a national championship. Now he coaches the University of South Carolina, the team that produced the No. 1 pick in the 2014 NFL draft, Jadeveon Clowney.

  • It started with the unheralded arrival of a wisecracking heavyweight basketball player named Charles Barkley. Then came the recruitment of multi-sports legend Bo Jackson, a victory in itself since he might have gone to Alabama. When Frank Thomas wasn't drafted by a major league baseball team, he decided to cast his fate with Auburn... as a football player. Told through an unforgettable reunion of the famed trio at the 2013 Iron Bowl, here's the real story of how these future Hall of Famers turned the orange and blue of Tiger athletics into gold.

  • What do Ashley Judd, Darius Rucker, James Carville and Governor Rick Perry have in common? Well, they live and die with the fortunes of their respective SEC schools. 14 famous figures--each representing a different college in the Southeastern Conference--spill their emotions and explain why they'll never forget where they came from. Also features Charlie Daniels, Amy Robach, Jonathan Papelbon, Melissa Joan Hart, Emmitt Smith, Shepard Smith and Ralphie May, among others.

  • An insightful look at Sylvester Croom, the first African-American center at the University of Alabama and one of the school's first black players. After playing for legendary coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, then coaching under him for a decade, Croom eventually rose to to become head football coach at Mississippi State University and, more importantly, the first African American head coach in the Southeastern Conference. Narrated by Terrence Howard.

  • Abby Wambach never gives up. The soccer phenom has maintained an astonishing level of success, from helping the Florida Gators win their first and only national championship, to collecting a Founders Cup title with the WUSA's Washington Freedom and earning two Olympic gold medals. But her journey included setbacks - the collapse of a professional league, World Cup disappointments, and a career-threatening injury - all while shouldering the changing of the guard of the Women's National Team. Abby: Head On shows how Wambach has persevered, making her mark on the sport and becoming one of the best this country has ever produced.

  • Trailing Mississippi State 59-56 with seconds left in regulation, Alabama forward Mykal Riley heaves a buzzer beater as time expires in the 2008 SEC men's basketball tournament. Unknowingly, his shot has saved thousands of lives. A few minutes into overtime, the Georgia Dome begins to shake. A major tornado is sweeping through downtown Atlanta, the first to hit the city since the 1880s. If the game ends in regulation, thousands would have been outside unprotected in the path of the oncoming twister. This "Miracle Three" prevented a major tragedy. What followed was also a "miracle three" days when rivals united, heroes emerged and underdogs prevailed.

  • Plagued by injuries at UK and the NBA, Sam Bowie has always been overshadowed by his draft placement. The 7-foot-1 center was seen by many as a franchise player when he was selected by Portland with the second overall pick in the 1984 NBA Draft, just ahead of Michael Jordan. Sadly, injuries limited his success while Jordan helped the NBA reach new heights. Sam Bowie went on to a long and relatively productive professional career, despite recurring leg injuries. Still, he labeled a bust because of the lofty expectations. Going Big tells Bowie's story of perseverance and determination. Now a successful horse-owner in Lexington who never let his run of bad fortune deflate his spirit, Bowie has found success and happiness.

  • The appeal of the Lolo Jones story goes beyond the track and field community. It is one of heartbreak, adversity and the hope of triumph at the end, the kind of storyline that appeals to the masses. This is her story!

  • Explore the rise, fall and re-birth of legendary University of Arkansas coach Nolan Richardson, at a time when the state of Arkansas was at the epicenter of American culture.

  • The Play That Changed College Football takes a look back at the first SEC Championship Game in 1992 between Florida and Alabama. The documentary dives into what the inaugural championship meant at the time and what it has meant to college football today.

  • Profiling former Georgia running back Herschel Walker. The 1982 Heisman Trophy winner overcame teenage bouts with bullying for being overweight and having a severe stutter.

  • ESPN Films tells the inspirational story of Dewey Bozella and follows him through his quest to fight one professional fight as a free man. A promising young boxer from a troubled family, Bozella was wrongfully convicted of murder in 1983 and spent more than 26 years in New York¿s Sing Sing prison.

  • On Thursday, Nov. 7, 1991, Earvin "Magic" Johnson made people stop and watch at the Forum in Inglewood, California. But this time it wasn't his basketball brilliance as a perennial NBA All-Star and three-time MVP that was captivating audiences worldwide. Instead, the 32-year-old ground-breaking point guard was holding a press conference to make the stunning announcement that he was HIV-positive and would be retiring from basketball immediately. More than 20 years after the announcement, director Nelson George gets to the core of Magic's incredible personal journey and explores how he continues to thrive two decades later, thanks in large part to the fortitude of his wife, the vision of his friend and AIDS activist, the late Elizabeth Glaser, and the commitment of his former head coach Pat Riley. Friends and Family share their memories of that time and insights on the character of the man who put a new face on HIV and AIDS.

  • From birth, Todd Marinovich was raised with a defined purpose of creating the perfect athlete. Trained by his father Marv, a former pro football player, the young Marinovich was meticulously engineered and nurtured into a star quarterback. But three short years later he was out of the NFL. The "test tube athlete" was a full-blown drug addict; a cautionary tale of epic proportion. Now, almost two decades removed from the national spotlight, Marinovich tells the unvarnished story of his unique ascent to stardom and the dark descent into drugs and oblivion that followed. First-person accounts from Marinovich and his family, including his father, as well as a treasure trove of never-before-seen footage, will trace the phenom's tale from the cradle to the gridiron and ultimately answer a persistent question,"what went wrong with Todd Marinovich?"

  • With two Heisman trophies, two national championships and one crazed fan, the biggest rivalry in college sports, Auburn vs. Alabama, has reached new heights in the last two years. This is the story of the history between the two programs, the bad blood between its fans and how this intense rivalry came to a pinnacle, just when they ended up needing each other most.

  • Chris Herren, Fall River, Massachusetts' high school basketball superstar, played for Boston University, for Jerry Tarkanian's Fresno State team, bounced around the NBA (once playing for his beloved Celtics) and around the globe. Chris failed drug tests wherever he played. Ultimately, Chris - the youngest and most talented of three generations of local heroes - has found redemption and personal fulfillment through the game, but only after it led him down a path of alcohol and drug addiction that nearly killed him.

  • In 1975, Chuck Wepner fought Muhammad Ali for the world's Heavyweight title. During the...

  • The Dotted Line is an in-depth look at what it takes to be a big-time agent in the fiercely competitive world of major league sports. Agents Peter Greenberg and Eugene Lee are profiled along with their clients New York Mets' pitcher Johan Santana (Greenberg's) and NFL hopefuls Jacquian Williams and Robert Hughes (Lee's).

  • The film tells the story of Renée Richard's battle to enter the 1977 U.S. Open as the first transgender tennis player. Simultaneously, it follows her today as she struggles to cope with a life of contradictions and personal conflict. Through interviews with tennis legends, family, friends and experts from the transgender field; a story of perseverance, breakthrough and hardship unfolds.

  • With five outs remaining in Game 6 of the 2003 NLCS, a foul ball descended from the cold Chicago sky, seemingly destined for the glove of Cubs left fielder Moises Alou. But a flurry of hands reached up and one hand, belonging to Cubs fan Steve Bartman, fatefully tipped the ball away from a frustrated Alou. Most long-suffering Cubs fans, including a chorus of hostile ones in Wrigley Field, quickly became convinced that Bartman had swatted away Chicago's chance of advancing to the World Series for the first time 58 years. The mild-mannered Bartman released a sincere public apology, but his fate was already sealed by the Cubs fans' need for a scapegoat to explain a near-century of losing. Oscar-winning documentarian Alex Gibney relates the scapegoat compulsion to his own frustration as a Red Sox fan when Bill Buckner was similarly singled out for letting a fateful ground ball go through his legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series.

Most Popular ESPN Films Episodes

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