The Best of ESPN’s 30 for 30: Basketball Edition

The Best of ESPN’s 30 for 30: Basketball Edition

With the NBA Finals potentially halfway done at this point, so now is a good time for some serious reflection. And with what seems like ages between each game, we’re not officially in a basketball lull. Just in case you needed a reason to watch more basketball, or just miss the sight of all those Golden State Warriors’ three-pointers, let’s take a look at the five best ESPN 30-for-30 basketball films. These films not only display great teamwork, admirable perseverance and determination, the feel-good success of an underdog, and downright hard work- but they also give us some insights into the most famous incidents in basketball history. They include off-the-court altercations, pay-for-play controversies, and in-team disputes. So let’s get after it and take a look at some of the best basketball stories in recent memory:

Bad Boys

In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, the Detroit Pistons assembled a team of some of the most unique and gritty players in NBA history. This unique roster created a sense of brotherhood, who wholeheartedly embraced their label as the “Bad Boys.” From the leadership by Isiah Thomas, to the hard-fouling defensive beasts of Bill Laimbeer and Rick Mahorn, to the audacity of a pre-tie-dye haired Dennis Rodman, this collective unit won themselves two NBA titles. So Charles Barkley, is this the physicality that would’ve “mauled” Steph and the Warriors? Because it looks like they did just that to teams back then, too.

No Crossover: The Trial of Allen Iverson

Iverson was a high profile player not only for his mean crossover on the court, but also the scandal that surrounded him off of it. The film takes a look into the night at a bowling alley that led Iverson into legal trouble that would impact him for the rest of his life and the numerous battles that followed. And before you use this line on your coach, “we talkin’ about practice?”, brush up on what Iverson really meant in that famous interview. Also, it is to be determined if the Warriors will step over Tyronn Lue in this Finals series, just like Iverson did to him in the early 00’s.

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks

A look into one of the best NBA rivalries: the Pacers versus the Knicks. Get an inside look into the mind of the trash-talking king himself, Reggie Miller. You also get to see some of Miller’s best moments against the Knicks, like his Academy Award-winning performance against Starks’ head-butt, his downright unbelievable 8 points in 9 seconds in the Eastern Conference Finals, and his continuous banter with Knicks super-fan, Spike Lee. After that Oklahoma City Thunder performance in the WCF, I can only imagine that Miller is now giving Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook the same choking gesture he gave Spike during the ’94 Eastern Conference Finals.

Survive and Advance

The story of a Cinderella team that definitely put the madness in March, our next documentary focuses on the 1983 North Carolina State Wolfpack men’s basketball team. The Wolfpack men won the championship that year and this film follows that implausible journey. It is full of tremendous hard work, triumph of doubt, and visibly expressed love throughout the team; and of course, it includes a dose of inspiring words and big, long hugs from the one and only, Jim Valvano. Thunder fans, you’ll have to re-use those same tissues after that Game 7 loss to wipe your tears from this film — it definitely gets the emotions going!

The Fab Five

I’m not talking about the five girls who ruled your high school’s halls. No, this is a film about the originators of the name The Fab Five, Chris Webber, Jalen Rose, Juwan Howard, Jimmy King, and Ray Jackson. These five freshmen were the recruiting prized class of the 1991 Michigan’s men’s basketball team. They lived a lavish lifestyle as 18 year-olds and shocked the nation with their on-court performances all while embracing the cameras off the court. But with prestige and hype, controversy and massive let down can surely follow — no spoilers, but you’ll see how that unfolded in this film.

As an athlete, what would your ESPN 30-for-30 film be about? Are you building an admirable reputation as an individual or as a teammate? Here at CoachUp, we’re all about helping athletes achieve their greatest potential, while working towards creating positive legacies — so what are you waiting for?

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