SportsIf at its essence, the popularity of professional wrestling has always been about its characters, there's never been a performer more original and more electrifying than Ric Flair. As a pure wrestler, he was beloved. His "Woooo" showmanship was imitated by athletes from other sports, as well as the hip-hop community. But as interviews with family members and Flair himself reveal, his frenzied lifestyle masked the loneliness of a man who could never please his physician father and ran away from his own wives and children, toward an almost unbearable tragedy. It was Ric Flair who popularized the boast, "If you want to be Th
SportsLong before hip hop superstars filled our airwaves and shopping malls, the Miami Hurricanes brought street values and hood bravado into America’s living room. Recruiting from some of the toughest ghettos in Florida, a football program on the verge of collapse was re-energized with some of the most controversial and brilliant players in football history. With a newly branded swagger, inspired and fueled by the quickly growing Miami hip hop culture, these Canes took on larger-than-life personalities, winning four national titles between 1983 and 1991. Filmmaker Billy Corben (Cocaine Cowboys) tells the story of how these “Bad
SportsFew teams in professional sports history elicit such a wide range of emotions as the Detroit Pistons of the late 1980s and early 1990s. For some, the team was heroic– made up of gritty, hard-nosed players who didn’t back down from anyone. And for others, it was exactly that trait – the willingness to do seemingly anything to win – that made them the “Bad Boys”, the team fans loved to hate. Sandwiched between the Lakers’ and Celtics’ dominance of the 1980s and the Bulls' run in the 1990s, the Pistons’ two titles in 1989 and ’90 are often viewed as a transitional period in NBA history, rather than a dynamic championship e
SportsEver since he shocked the sports world by winning the PGA Championship 25 years ago, John Daly has been one of the most popular - and polarizing - figures in a sport that cherishes its traditions and minds its manners. Directors Gabe Spitzer and David Fine cover Daly's rise and fall, his redemption at the British Open in St. Andrews in 1995, and his struggles with booze, food, gambling, women, and depression.
SportsWhile rival drug cartels warred in the streets and the country's murder rate climbed to highest in the world, the Colombian national soccer team set out to blaze a new image for their country. What followed was a mysteriously rapid rise to glory, as the team catapulted out of decades of obscurity to become one of the best teams in the world. Central to this success were two men named Escobar: Andrés, the captain and poster child of the National Team, and Pablo, the infamous drug baron who pioneered the phenomenon known in the underworld as "Narco-soccer." But just when Colombia was expected to win the 1994 World Cup and tr
SportsWhat happens when you combine "Goodfellas" with college basketball? You get "Playing for the Mob," the story of how mobster Henry Hill -- played by Ray Liotta in the 1990 Martin Scorsese classic -- helped orchestrate the fixing of Boston College basketball games in the 1978-79 season. The details of that point-shaving scandal are revealed for the first time on film through the testimony of the players, the federal investigators and the actual fixers, including Hill, who died shortly after he was interviewed. "Playing for the Mob" may be set in the seemingly golden world of college basketball but, like "Goodfellas," this is
SportsThere are rivalries, and then there is the Celtics vs. the Lakers. In Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies Part One, director Jim Podhoretz chronicles the storied franchises' epic clashes, tracing not only the history, but also presenting a fabulous cast of characters who would change the NBA and open America’s collective mind. At the center of it all in the 1980s was a pair of brilliant players - Larry Bird and Magic Johnson.
SportsTommy Morrison was one of the best heavyweights of his time; a handsome, charming, yet unsettled young star. Born into a troubled family in America’s heartland, Morrison’s initial emergence as a fighter was bolstered by a starring role in “Rocky V.” A few years later he beat George Foreman for the WBO heavyweight title, and seemed primed for more stardom, even in the face of blown opportunities and upset losses. But everything changed in early 1996 when he tested positive for HIV, abruptly forcing him into retirement at age 27. There have been other boxers and other sports stars whose stories ended sadly, but rarely is th
SportsEl Dragon Azteca Jr. vs. Fenix, The Mack vs. Mil Muertes in a Death Match, Johnny Mundo vs. Matanza, Pentagon Dark vs. Marty “The Moth” in a Cero Miedo Match. The Order sets their plan in motion to destroy the Seven Aztec.
SportsReggie Miller single-handedly crushed the hearts of Knick fans multiple times. But it was the 1995 Eastern Conference Semifinals which solidified Miller as Public Enemy #1 in New York City. With moments to go in Game 1, and facing a seemingly insurmountable deficit of 105-99, Miller scored eight points in 8.9 seconds to give his Indiana Pacers an astonishing victory. This career-defining performance, combined with his give-and-take with Knicks fan Spike Lee, made Miller and the Knicks a highlight of the 1995 NBA playoffs. Peabody Award-winning director Dan Klores will explore how Miller proudly built his legend as "The Gar
SportsBroke explores the roads to fortune in American sports and eventually, the many detours to bankruptcy. Bernie Kosar, Andre Rison and Cliff Floyd are among the athletes who talk openly about the challenges of managing their money in an era when big contracts don’t necessarily support bigger lifestyles. Sucked into bad investments, stalked by freeloaders and saddled with medical problems, many pro athletes get shocked by harsh economic realities after years of living the high life. A story of the dark side of success, Broke is an allegory for the financial woes haunting economies and individuals all over the world.
SportsRicky Williams does not conform to America’s definition of the modern athlete. In 2004, with rumors of another positive marijuana test looming, the Miami Dolphins running back traded adulation and a mansion in South Florida for anonymity and a $7 a night tent in Australia. His decision created a media frenzy that dismantled his reputation and branded him as a quitter. But while most in the media thought Williams was ruining his life by leaving football, Ricky thought he was saving it. Through personal footage recorded with Williams during his year away from football and beyond, filmmaker and traveling companion Sean Pamphi
SportsIn their own words, the Fab Five (Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson) relive the story of one of the most famous – and infamous – teams in college basketball history: the recruitment process that got them to Ann Arbor, the two runs to the NCAA title game, the Webber “timeout” that cost them the 1993 championship and the scandal that eventually tarnished their accomplishments.
SportsOn August 9, 1988, the NHL was forever changed with the single stroke of a pen. The Edmonton Oilers, fresh off their fourth Stanley Cup victory in five years, signed a deal and exported Wayne Gretzky, a Canadian national treasure and the greatest hockey player ever to play the game, to the Los Angeles Kings in a multi-player, multi-million dollar deal. As bewildered Oiler fans struggled to make sense of the unthinkable, fans in Los Angeles were rushing to purchase season tickets at a rate so fast it overwhelmed the Kings box office. Overnight, a franchise largely overlooked in its 21-year existence was suddenly playing to
SportsChris 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.
SportsOn March 13, 2006, a group of Duke University lacrosse players threw a team party that ended up changing lives, tarnishing a university's reputation, and jeopardizing the future of the sport at the school. A look at the party that ignited a national firestorm and resulted in a highly-charged legal investigation with its underlying themes of sex, race, class, and violence.
SportsWhen the 1982-83 college basketball season began, Jim Valvano and his North Carolina State Wolfpack faced high expectations with equally high aspirations. But with ten losses for the season, the Wolfpack's only hope of making the NCAA Tournament was to win the ACC Tournament and earn the conference's automatic berth. Nine straight improbable tournament wins later over the likes of Sampson, Jordan, Olajuwon and Drexler, N.C. State had "survived and advanced" its way to a national championship. Director Jonathan Hock takes a poignant look through the eyes of senior captain Dereck Whittenburg at a dream fulfilled.
SportsHe made perhaps the most dramatic shot in the history of the NCAA basketball tournament. He's the only player to start in four consecutive Final Fours, and was instrumental in Duke winning two national championships. He had looks, smarts and game. So why has Christian Laettner been disliked so intensely by so many for so long? Go beyond the polarizing persona to uncover the complete story behind this lightning rod of college basketball. Featuring extensive access to Laettner, previously unseen footage and perspectives from all sides, this film is a “gloves-off” examination of the man who has been seen by many as the "Blu
SportsProduced in 2009 for the 30 for 30 series, “The U” took a look at all that was good and bad about the rise of the University of Miami’s football program in the 1980s. But that wasn’t the end of the story. “The U Part 2″ picks up where the original film left off, with the program trying to recover from the devastation left by NCAA sanctions and scandals that had some calling for the school to drop football. The Hurricanes rose from those ashes to win another national championship, only to face new controversies when a booster used a Ponzi scheme to win favor with the program.
SportsIn Part Two, the Celtics and Lakers meet in the NBA Finals for the first time in 15 years. A culture clash is brewing on the hardwood and the stakes are huge. Beyond Magic and Bird, there is Abdul-Jabbar and Parish, Worthy and McHale, Scott and Ainge, Buss and Auerbach. Throw in the Forum and the Garden, Chick Hearn and Johnny Most, add a heavy dose of ill will, sprinkle in underlying racial tension, and you have a recipe for a battle royal.
SportsAfter the thrilling 1984 NBA Finals, Part Three explores the saga from 1985 to 1987 as the teams’ disdain for each other gradually turns to respect. The Celtics and Lakers - Bird and Magic in particular - transform the fans' view of the game from simple black-and-white to full-blown Technicolor. By the end of their last battle of the 80s, while there’s still animosity, there’s also a hard-earned respect for each other. It’s a rivalry that forced America to no longer view the league in black and white.
SportsWhen Bernard King arrived in Knoxville, he was only the third African American ever to play for the Vols’ varsity team. By the time he left he was a legend. In his freshman year he dazzled fans in Knoxville, and with talented teammate Ernie Grunfeld, gained national acclaim as part of what was known as "The Ernie and Bernie Show." King was a three time SEC player of the year, a consensus All-American in 1977 and drafted by the New Jersey Nets in the first round. We will learn about King's strict upbringing in Brooklyn, New York, the success he enjoyed and the challenges he faced at the University of Tennessee, and the obst
SportsThere’s high school football, and then there’s Texas high school football. Oddly enough though, one of the greatest teams in state history has been lost to time… and fate. With 21 players who were offered college scholarships and a few of those who later reached professional football, they took on the best that Texas had to offer - including the Odessa Permian team that inspired Friday Night Lights - as well as the worst, a resentful bureaucracy that challenged their legitimacy because of one player’s grade in algebra. Somehow, they won it all, and somehow, they threw it all away. But thanks to searing interviews with pla
SportsLife 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.
SportsWhen the night of October 6, 2004 came to a merciful end, the Curse of the Bambino was alive and well. The vaunted Yankee lineup, led by ARod, Jeter, and Sheffield, had just extended their ALCS lead to three games to none, pounding out 19 runs against their hated rivals. The next night, in Game 4, the Yankees took a 4-3 lead into the bottom of the ninth inning, then turned the game over to Mariano Rivera, the best relief pitcher in postseason history, to secure yet another trip to the World Series. But after a walk and a hard-fought stolen base, the cold October winds of change began to blow. Over four consecutive days and
SportsTo many observers, the story of the crime of the century is a story that began the night Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman were brutally murdered outside her Brentwood condominium. But to truly grasp the significance of what happened not just that night, but the epic chronicle to follow, one has to travel back to much different, much earlier origin points.
SportsIn the fall of 1993, in his prime and at the summit of the sports world, Michael Jordan walked away from pro basketball. After leading the Dream Team to an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and taking the Bulls to their third consecutive NBA championship the following year, Jordan was jolted by the murder of his father. Was it the brutal loss of such an anchor in his life that caused the world’s most famous athlete to rekindle a childhood ambition by playing baseball? Or some feeling that he had nothing left to prove or conquer in basketball? Or something deeper and perhaps not yet understood? Ron Shelton, a former minor leaguer
SportsOn Valentine’s Day 1993, 17-year-old Bethel High School basketball star Allen Iverson was bowling in Hampton, Va., with five high school friends. It was supposed to be an ordinary evening, but it became a night that defined Iverson’s young life. A quarrel soon erupted into a brawl pitting Iverson’s young black friends against a group of white patrons. The fallout from the fight and the handling of the subsequent trial landed the teenager, which some considered the nation’s best high school athlete, in jail and sharply divided the city along racial lines. Oscar nominee Steve James (Hoop Dreams) returns to his hometown of Ha
SportsBo Jackson hit 500 ft. home runs, ran over linebackers, and—for a small window—he was the best athlete we had ever seen. You Don’t Know Bo is a close look at the man and marketing campaign that shaped his legacy. Even without winning a Super Bowl or World Series, Bo redefined the role of the athlete in the pop cultural conversation. More than 20 years later, myths and legends still surround Bo Jackson, and his impossible feats still capture our collective imagination.
SportsFrom 1981-1984, a small private school in Dallas owned the best record in college football. The Mustangs of Southern Methodist University were riding high on the backs of the vaunted "Pony Express" backfield. But as the middle of the decade approached, the program was coming apart at the seams. Wins became the only thing that mattered as the University increasingly ceded power of the football program t o the city's oil barons and real estate tycoons and flagrant and frequent NCAA violations became the norm. On February 25th, 1987, the school and the sport were rocked, as the NCAA meted out "the death penalty" on a college
SportsOne was the world inhabited by OJ Simpson: wealthy, privileged, and predominantly white. A world where celebrity was power, and where OJ - race be damned - was one of the most popular figures around. But just a few miles away from his Rockingham estate in Brentwood was a very different reality. A reality lived by millions of other black people at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department and its chief, Daryl Gates.
SportsMore than two decades after his tragic cocaine overdose, the late Len Bias still leaves more questions than answers. When Bias dropped dead two days after the 1986 NBA Draft, he forever altered our perception of casual drug use and became the tipping point of America's drug crisis in the mid-80s. Future generations continue to face the harsh punishment of drug policies that were influenced by the public outcry after his heartbreaking death. Instead of becoming an NBA star, he became a one-man deterrent, the athlete who reminded everyone just how dangerous drug use can be. Amazingly, questions still linger about his death n
SportsThe police arrived at the condo on Bundy Drive at 4:25 a.m. on June 13th, 1994. It was a gruesome murder scene, clearly the result of a violent confrontation that had left two people dead - one of whom, they'd quickly discover, was the estranged wife of O.J. Simpson. It was just the start of a chapter of American history like none other, one that would lay bare the realities of race, power, the legal system, the media, and so much more in Los Angeles, California and far beyond.
SportsIn 1981, college athletic recruiting changed forever as a dozen big time football programs sat waiting for the decision of a physically powerful and lightning-quick high school running back named Marcus Dupree. Having already graced the cover of Sports Illustrated, Dupree attracted recruiters from schools in every major conference to his hometown of Philadelphia, Miss. More than a decade removed from being a flashpoint in the civil rights struggle, Philadelphia was once again thrust back into the national spotlight. Dupree took the attention in stride, and committed to Oklahoma. What followed, though, was a forgettable col
SportsThe crime of the century gave way to the trial of the century, which officially began in January of 1995. It would be like nothing before it, nor anything that's come since, and reshape the landscape of the media, and, truly, American culture along the way. It would also be the fight of O.J. Simpson's life.
SportsIt took less than four hours for them to decide. And on the morning of October 3rd, 1995, it was announced. O.J. Simpson had been found not guilty of all charges. But as the reaction in the courtroom, across Los Angeles, and across the country showed, it was also much, much more than that. Meanwhile, it was also time for O.J. to go home. But if Simpson had hoped that he could return to any semblance of the life he'd enjoyed before the murders, he would quickly learn how much had changed.
SportsWith 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
SportsIn 1983 the upstart United States Football League (USFL) had the audacity to challenge the almighty NFL. The new league did the unthinkable by playing in the spring and plucked three straight Heisman Trophy winners away from the NFL. The 12-team league USFL played before crowds that averaged 25,000, and started off with respectable TV ratings. But with success came expansion and new owners, including a certain high profile and impatient real estate baron whose vision was at odds with the league's founders. Soon, the USFL was reduced to waging a desperate anti-trust lawsuit against the NFL, which yielded an ironic verdict t
SportsDrazen Petrovic and Vlade Divac were two friends who grew up together sharing the common bond of basketball. Together, they lifted the Yugoslavian National team to unimaginable heights. After conquering Europe, they both went to America where they became the first two foreign players to attain NBA stardom. But with the fall of the Soviet Union on Christmas Day 1991, Yugoslavia split up. A war broke out between Petrovic's Croatia and Divac's Serbia. Long buried ethnic tensions surfaced. And these two men, once blood brothers, were now on opposite sides of a deadly civil war. As Petrovic and Divac continued to face each o
SportsBy the mid-1980s, Paul Westhead had worn out his welcome in the NBA. The best offer he could find came from an obscure small college with little history of basketball. In the same city where he had won an NBA championship with Magic and Kareem, Westhead was determined to perfect his non-stop run-and-gun offensive system at Loyola Marymount. His shoot-first offense appeared doomed to fail until Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble, two talented players from Westhead’s hometown of Philadelphia, arrived gift wrapped at his doorstep. With Gathers and Kimble leading a record scoring charge, Westhead’s system suddenly dazzled the world of
SportsIn the spring of 1983, a new generation of superstars was poised to enter the NFL. Six quarterbacks were selected in the first round of that draft - still the most ever. Elway to Marino explores this landmark draft through the eyes of the players, head coaches, general managers, team owners and agents who participated - including Marvin Demoff, who represented both John Elway and Dan Marino, and kept a diary in the months leading up to the most dramatic draft day in NFL history. Learn the inside story of the draft picks, back room deals, and tension between the future Hall of Famers and the teams that selected them.
SportsIn October of 1980, Muhammad Ali was preparing to fight for an unprecedented fourth heavyweight title against his friend and former sparring partner Larry Holmes. To say that the great Ali was in the twilight of his career would be generous: Most of his admiring fans, friends and fight scribes considered his bravado delusional. What was left for him to prove? In the weeks of training before the fight, documentarians Albert and David Maysles took an intimate look at Ali trying to convince the world and perhaps himself, that he was still "The Greatest". At the same time, they documented the mild-mannered and undervalued cham
SportsLove him or hate him, there is no denying that George Steinbrenner has been one of the most colorful and successful owners in contemporary sports. Heading up a group that bought the New York Yankees in 1973 for $10 million, “King George” emphatically branded the world’s most celebrated sports franchise as his own. The Boss has boasted 10 pennants, 6 World Series trophies and a corporate net worth more than $1 billion. But for all the glory and riches, the Steinbrenner legacy is also mixed with wasteful and embarrassing spending and countless episodes of tabloid-style soap. Now with George’s health seriously failing, the St
SportsWith 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.