30 for 30

The WORST episodes of 30 for 30

Every episode ever - ranked by fan votes!

Inspired by ESPN's anniversary, ESPN Films is launching 30 FOR 30, an unprecedented documentary series featuring 30 of today's finest storytellers telling thirty remarkable stories from the ESPN era. On their own, each of the films will be an intimate look at a specific story, relevant to larger themes from the modern era. Collectively, these films will be a diverse mosaic of what sports has meant to American and World culture in the last thirty years. Each storyteller will bring their passion and personal point of view to their film detailing the issues, trends, athletes, teams, rivalries, games and events that transformed the sports landscape from 1979 to 2009.

Last Updated: 5/12/2022Network: ESPN
10 votes

#1 - Qualified

Season 3 - Episode 31 - Aired 5/28/2019

For many, the name Janet Guthrie won’t ring a bell. It didn’t for me which added to the mystery of this 30 for 30 installment. This is one of the very few instances where I went in totally fresh, as in I didn’t watch the trailer, the name didn’t ring a bell, and I didn’t see any commercials, posters, or press materials. Given Guthrie’s career was short and ended nearly 40 years ago, I suspect her story will be new to many viewers like it was to me. Qualified chronicles Guthrie’s brief, but distinguished racing career, and centers around her efforts to qualify and finish the Indy 500. The film is greatly aided by — and leans considerably on — utilizing Guthrie to tell her own story, which she does in a very measured and stoic manner. What really makes Qualified pop is the extensive amount of vivid racetrack footage that gives the film a pretty immersive feel. For sports doc aficionados, this closely mirrors the excellence of Senna, which also is jam-packed with footage (which once again makes me wonder how and why such a stirring amount of footage was taken at the time). Both films are like a carton of cookie dough cream, in which you open it up and are delighted to find damn near two thirds of the container is cookie dough.

The U Part 2
64 votes

#2 - The U Part 2

Season 2 - Episode 26 - Aired 12/13/2014

Produced in 2009 by ESPN for its "30 for 30" series, "The U" was 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.

Directors: Billy Corben
The Infinite Race
6 votes

#3 - The Infinite Race

Season 4 - Episode 13 - Aired 12/15/2020

"The Infinite Race" explores the story of the Tarahumara, an indigenous community in Mexico, famed for their legendary running ability, and their preference for running barefoot, who inspired an ultrarunning craze across the world, and what’s happened as their homes and communities were ravaged by drug cartels and violence.

Directors: Bernardo Ruiz
Marion Jones: Press Pause
146 votes

#4 - Marion Jones: Press Pause

Season 1 - Episode 28 - Aired 11/2/2010

Few athletes in Olympic history have reached such heights and depths as Marion Jones. After starring at the University of North Carolina and winning gold at the 1997 and '99 World Track and Field Championships, her rise to the top culminated at the 2000 Summer Games in Sydney, Australia. There she captivated the world with her beauty, style and athletic dominance, sprinting and jumping to three gold medals and two bronze. Eventually, though, her accomplishments and her reputation would be tarnished. For years, Jones denied the increasing speculation that she used performance-enhancing drugs. But in October 2007, she finally admitted what so many had long suspected -- that she had indeed used steroids. Calling herself a liar and a cheat in a federal courtroom, Jones was sentenced to six months in prison for lying to federal investigators and soon saw her Olympic achievements disqualified. Now a free woman, Jones is running in a new direction in life and taking time to reflect. Director John Singleton will focus on the rise, fall and re-birth of Marion Jones.

Directors: John Singleton
Straight Outta L.A.
160 votes

#5 - Straight Outta L.A.

Season 1 - Episode 14 - Aired 5/11/2010

In 1982, Raiders owner Al Davis beat the NFL in court and moved his team from Oakland to Los Angeles. With a squad as colorful as its owner, the Raiders captivated a large number of black and Hispanic fans in L.A. at a time when gang warfare, immigration and the real estate boom were rapidly changing the city. The L.A. Raiders morphed into a worldwide brand as the team’s colors, swagger and anti-establishment ethos became linked with the hip-hop scene that was permeating South Central Los Angeles. Rapper-turned-filmmaker Ice Cube was not only witness to this evolution, he was also a part of it. As a member of the notorious rap group N.W.A, Ice Cube helped make the silver and black culturally significant to a new generation and demographic. Still a die-hard Raiders fan, Cube will explore the unlikely marriage between the NFL’s rebel franchise and America’s glamour city and show how pro football’s outlaw team became the toast of La La Land.

Directors: Ice Cube
5 votes

#6 - Breakaway

Season 4 - Episode 15 - Aired 7/13/2021

The story of Maya Moore, who was one of the best basketball players in the world when she stepped away from the sport for a remarkable reason: to fight for a man she believed was wrongly imprisoned. In 2019, after four WNBA championships, two Olympic gold medals, a WNBA MVP award, three All-Star MVPs, and a scoring title, Moore decided to take a sabbatical from basketball at the age of 29 to devote herself full-time to working for the release of a man named Jonathan Irons, who was wrongly convicted of burglary and assault and sentenced to 50 years in prison. "Breakaway" chronicles a search for justice, and a relationship that changed the lives of two people forever.

Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 2)
10 votes

#7 - Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 2)

Season 4 - Episode 10 - Aired 9/27/2020

The story of Oscar Pistorius will always be one of the most shocking stories in the history of sports.

Directors: Daniel Gordon
One Night in Vegas
166 votes

#8 - One Night in Vegas

Season 1 - Episode 20 - Aired 9/7/2010

On the evening of Sept. 7, 1996, Mike Tyson, the WBC heavyweight champion, attempted to take Bruce Seldon’s WBA title at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. At this point in his career, Tyson’s fights had become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon, where the ever present hype of the professional boxing scene would come face to face with the worlds of big business, Hollywood, and hip hop. Sitting ringside was controversial rapper Tupac Shakur. Shakur and Tyson were friends, a feeling of kinship linked them as each rose to stardom from poverty only to be thrown in prison. Following Tyson’s victory, Shakur and “Iron Mike” were to celebrate at an after party, but the rap star never arrived. Shakur was brutally gunned down later that night, and the scene in Las Vegas quickly turned from would-be celebratory revelry to ill fated and inopportune tragedy. Director Reggie Bythewood, with the full cooperation of Mike Tyson, will tell not only the story of that infamous night but of the remarkable friendship between Tyson and Tupac.

The Good, The Bad, The Hungry
23 votes

#9 - The Good, The Bad, The Hungry

Season 3 - Episode 32 - Aired 7/2/2019

A look at one of the biggest rivalries in sports, that of competitive eaters Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut.

The Two Bills
21 votes

#10 - The Two Bills

Season 3 - Episode 25 - Aired 2/1/2018

Bill Belichick will one day join Bill Parcells in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. When the time comes, they'll have far more in common than a place in Canton-or a first name. The Two Bills, directed by Ken Rodgers and produced by NFL Films, traces the four-decade relationship between these two coaching masters. They first met when Belichick was a teenager and his father was coaching for Navy while Parcells was coaching at Army. On the same day in 1979, they became assistants with the New York Giants, and after Parcells took over as head coach, they won two Super Bowls together. Buttressed by what he learned from Parcells, Belichick would go on to win five Super Bowls of his own with the Patriots. Through all the ups and downs of their careers, including some memorable games when they were on opposite sides of the field, they forged a bond that few men of their stature have ever experienced. Two Bills, but one epic story.

Directors: Ken Rodgers
Angry Sky: The Legend Of Nick Piantanida
19 votes

#11 - Angry Sky: The Legend Of Nick Piantanida

Season 2 - Episode 30 - Aired 7/30/2015

At the height of the space race, Nick Piantanida had a dream and a reach that far exceeded his grasp: He would climb to the edge of the atmosphere and break the free-fall parachute record.

Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau
78 votes

#12 - Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

Season 2 - Episode 9 - Aired 10/1/2013

Director Sam George chronicles the remarkable life and times of the late Eddie Aikau, the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, pioneering lifeguard and ultimately doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokulea.

Directors: Sam George
Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 4)
7 votes

#13 - Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 4)

Season 4 - Episode 12 - Aired 9/27/2020

The story of Oscar Pistorius will always be one of the most shocking stories in the history of sports.

Directors: Daniel Gordon
This Is What They Want
92 votes

#14 - This Is What They Want

Season 2 - Episode 13 - Aired 10/29/2013

"This is What They Want" is an examination of Jimmy Connors' career told through the lens of the 1991 U.S. Open, when Connors so famously played at the age of 39 past five challengers, through an epic contest with Aaron Krickstein, and all the way to the semi-finals before being stopped by Jim Courier. But it's not just an examination of that tournament: it's a look at how Connors and the colleagues/adversaries of his heyday re-invented tennis in the first decade of the Open era to be a high-octane spectator sport for the whole country, colored by intense competitors with strong personalities and towering, well-matched talents. And it's an exploration of the way "character" players like Connors changed the game and carved out legacies through their careers on the court.

Watch Now:Amazon
Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 1)
13 votes

#15 - Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 1)

Season 4 - Episode 9 - Aired 9/27/2020

The story of Oscar Pistorius will always be one of the most shocking stories in the history of sports.

Directors: Daniel Gordon
Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 3)
7 votes

#16 - Life and Trials of Oscar Pistorius (Part 3)

Season 4 - Episode 11 - Aired 9/27/2020

The story of Oscar Pistorius will always be one of the most shocking stories in the history of sports.

Directors: Daniel Gordon
Tim Richmond: To the Limit
141 votes

#17 - Tim Richmond: To the Limit

Season 1 - Episode 26 - Aired 10/19/2010

Natural. Rock star. Outsider. In the 1980s, race car driver Tim Richmond lived his life the way he raced cars – wide open. Born into a wealthy family, Richmond was the antithesis of the Southern, blue-collar, dirt-track racers who dominated NASCAR. He also was a flamboyant showman who basked in the attention of the media and fans – especially the attention of female admirers. Nevertheless, it was Richmond’s on-track performances that ended up drawing comparisons to racing legends. And in 1986, when he won seven NASCAR races and finished third in the Winston Cup series points race, some believed he was on the verge of stardom. But soon his freewheeling lifestyle caught up to him. He unexpectedly withdrew from the NASCAR racing circuit, reportedly suffering from double pneumonia. In reality, the diagnosis was much more dire: He had AIDS. Richmond returned to the track in 1987, but he was gone from the sport by the next year as his health deteriorated. He spent his final days as a recluse, dying on August 13, 1989, at the age of 34. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Rory Karpf will examine the life and tragic death of one of NASCAR’s shooting stars.

Directors: Rory Karpf
Watch Now:Amazon
Long Gone Summer
27 votes

#18 - Long Gone Summer

Season 4 - Episode 8 - Aired 6/14/2020

It was one of the most memorable and significant seasons in the history of baseball. In the summer of 1998, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGwire and the Chicago Cubs’ Sammy Sosa embarked on a chase of one of the game’s most hallowed records, igniting the passion and imagination of fans and non-fans everywhere. The drama, excitement, and results would be remembered for generations. If we only knew then just how complex our feelings about it all would eventually become.

Watch Now:Amazon
The Tuck Rule
9 votes

#19 - The Tuck Rule

Season 4 - Episode 20 - Aired 2/6/2022

Tom Brady and Charles Woodson relive the controversial call from the 2001 AFC Championship Game between the Patriots and Raiders

Watch Now:Amazon
Little Big Men
143 votes

#20 - Little Big Men

Season 1 - Episode 19 - Aired 8/31/2010

On August 28, 1982, Cody Webster and a small group of schoolyard friends from Kirkland, Washington, sat anxiously in a dugout waiting to take the field for the championship game of the Little League World Series. Their focus was just about what you’d expect from any 12-year-old: hit the ball, throw strikes, cross your fingers and then maybe – maybe – you’ll win. Adults in the stands and watching from home saw a much broader field of play. The memories of American hostages and a crippling oil crisis were still fresh; the economic malaise of the late 1970s still lingered; and the new President was recovering from an assassination attempt even while confronting new threats from the Soviet Union. Meanwhile, back on that tiny baseball field in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, where America’s game was celebrated each summer, no American team had won a true international Little League World Series Championship in more than a decade. When the Kirkland players rushed from their dugout that day, they stepped onto a much bigger field than the one they saw. What they did, how they did it, and what happened to each of the players in the years that followed is a multi-faceted story. Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Al Szymanski will examine what became of a group of childhood teammates when the high point in their lives occurred before their lives had really begun.

Directors: Al Szymanski
Watch Now:Amazon
George Best: All By Himself
45 votes

#21 - George Best: All By Himself

Season 3 - Episode 20 - Aired 7/20/2017

He was the Beatles of soccer - a handsome, charismatic lad from Belfast, Northern Ireland who worked wonders with the ball and thrilled Great Britain.

Directors: Dan Gordon
Watch Now:Amazon
No Mas
103 votes

#22 - No Mas

Season 2 - Episode 11 - Aired 10/15/2013

In the midst of boxing's contemporary golden age -- the 1980's -- stood two fighters who established a captivating rivalry. Their pair of bouts within a span of just over 5 months in 1980 had all the trappings of instant classics. Sugar Ray Leonard, an American hero, who had become a household name after a Gold Medal-winning performance at the 1976 Summer Olympics that led to numerous corporate sponsorships, versus the Latino champion, Roberto Duran, the toughest -- some said meanest -- fighter of all time. It was not just the drama and action of these fights that would endure, but those two words uttered in the second of their clashes, which would create a sense of mystery, bewilderment and intrigue to the present day.

Directors: Eric Drath
Watch Now:Amazon
Al Davis vs. The NFL
11 votes

#23 - Al Davis vs. The NFL

Season 4 - Episode 14 - Aired 2/4/2021

Al Davis vs the NFL presents an intimate look inside one of the great rivalries in the history of the National Football League - Raiders legend Al Davis and former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle. Their battle grew so intense that players, owners, franchises - even the League itself - became characters in a three-decade long Shakespearean feud that changed football forever. As the Raiders play their inaugural season in Las Vegas with a brand-new stadium, something Al Davis often dreamed of building himself, it's time to examine the adversarial relationship between the two visionaries most responsible for building the league to its current greatness and who, in the course of trying to destroy each other, created the NFL landscape that thrives today.

Directors: Ken Rodgers
Watch Now:Amazon
The Legend of Jimmy the Greek
180 votes

#24 - The Legend of Jimmy the Greek

Season 1 - Episode 6 - Aired 11/10/2009

“The NFL Today” on CBS was one of the preeminent sports programs on television in the early 1980s. It was a perfect combination of reporting, analysis, predictions, humor and talent. But there was no personality on the show more popular than Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder. Born in Steubenville, Ohio, to Greek immigrants, Jimmy overcame childhood tragedy, moved to Las Vegas, and eventually became the biggest name in the world of sports handicapping. When CBS added him as an “analyst” on “The NFL Today,” “The Greek” not only further increased his stature as a sort of national folk hero, but he also gained an air of respectability never before associated with gamblers.

Directors: Fritz Mitchell
Watch Now:Amazon
Jordan Rides the Bus
199 votes

#25 - Jordan Rides the Bus

Season 1 - Episode 18 - Aired 8/24/2010

In 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 who brought his experiences to life in the classic movie “Bull Durham,” will revisit Jordan’s short career in the minor leagues and explore the motivations that drove the world’s most competitive athlete to play a new sport in the relative obscurity of Birmingham, Alabama, for a young manager named Terry Francona.

Directors: Ron Shelton
Watch Now:Amazon