The Best of The Best: ESPN FILMS and 30 for 30

Bobby Rabaioli


“What if I told you a movie can change the way you can look at sports?”  The top five films from both series of ESPN Films and “30 for 30”, which give you a different perspective on sporting events that have happened in the last 30 years.  ESPN created “30 for 30” which displays 30 films that go into detail about sporting events from the past 30 years which have changed the ways we have looked at sports. ESPN Films was a continuation of the series which includes a more personal look into the lives of highly recognized sports figure and many well known events. Both series range from events from baseball to cricket.  Many have tuned in to watch these events when first aired, and now can be relieved.

5:  “Unguarded”

Former Durfee High School star, Christopher Herren, relives his drug-filled past in the ESPN Film “Unguarded.” Chris was supposed to be a star in the NBA when being recruited to college.  He went to Boston College where he eventually dropped out due to drug abuse.  Herren then transferred to Fresno State, where all past criminals were able to finish their careers. Herren would eventually be drafted into the NBA based on talent alone, but choose his other life because of addiction.  Herren now tells the story of his past of battling near death experiences at various colleges and high schools through out the country. This is a good family film and tells the ture story of what drugs can really do to a person, maybe even someone close to you.

4:  “The Announcement”

“The day everyone knew someone positive.”  The shocking news that the best NBA player in the world,  Earvin “Magic” Johnson, was retiring from the game of basketball because he was told that he had contracted a virus in his system also known as Aids.  This virus is widely known to be a death sentence for anyone who has unfortunately contracted it and people thought that this beloved sports figure was going to die.  Fortunately for Magic, he was able to overcome this terrible disease and return to the NBA.  It is hard to imagine Magic Johnson being a guy you would root for since he did play for the Lakers, but since he is portrayed as an underdog, it is hard not to.

3:  “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks”

“The Garden’s Greatest Villian.”  Reggie Miller single-handedly defeated the New York Knicks multiple times, but in the 1995 Eastern Conference semi-finals, is when Reggie became public enemy number one.  It started off with the Pacers’  facing a huge deficit against the Knicks in their first game in the series; 105-99 with less then 30 seconds left. Reggie became the sole villain in New York by scoring 8 points in nine seconds, winning game one all by himself.  The Pacers would eventually win the series and advance to play the Lakers in the NBA Championship.  In addition to Reggie’s little inside battle with Knicks fan Spike Lee continued with Reggie, causing many people to blame Spike for energizing Reggie.  Best put by the director, “The day Reggie gave New York the finger.  The Whole City”.

2:  “Four Days in October”

Everybody remembers Buckner, and the good old curse.  But in the 2004 playoffs the Red Sox finally lifted the Bambino off their shoulders.  ESPN Films captures the true essense of being a Red Sox fan during the 86-year drought, and how fans thought that the drought would last forever.  It starts off with the Red Sox down 3 games to none, and trying to create a sense of hope for the Red Sox that thought the curse had once again come to get them.  When all hope is lost, David Roberts steals second base and is eventually driven in for the game tying run, all against the best relief pitcher in the game.  The Red Sox came back in “Four Days in October” to beat their arch nemesis New York Yankees four games to three, and would eventually win the World Series.

1:  “Catching Hell”

The fans of the Chicago Cubs will remember this day forever on how “Fate can be fair or foul.”  A Cubs fan named Steve Bartmen just wanted to see his favorite team go to the World Series.  He went with a couple of his friends to this once in a lifetime moment since the Cubs had not won the World Series in just under a Century.  With one foul swing, the ball in play for a Marlins out, gets caught by a fan!  With no real sense with what is going around him Steve Bartmen started off a streak of bad luck for the Cubs.  Next their gold glove shortstop made an error, and the Cubs would eventually lose this game, and the series that was in their control.  ESPN Films takes in Chicago’s anger, and how it felt to be Steve Bartmen at the time.  This deservingly gets to be number one because of historical signifigance, and the curse that Chicago fans have to deal with until they win the World Series.

Overall, there are many great films that have been created that are not in this version of the Top 5, but these are the versions that have gone by all expectations.  Espn has found a way to relive the greatest memories or even the worse.  “Catching Hell” deservingly is number one just because of the way one man can change the momentum of a game.  These films are the best five and should be watched by everyone in a moment of spare time.