Posts Tagged ‘espn’

Broke – 30 for 30

Last night saw the return of ESPN’s rightfully acclaimed 30 for 30 documentary series. Director Billy Corben, who also director one of my personal favorite documentaries on the first go-around (“The U”), explore how such a high percentage of athletes who makes unbelievable fortunes wind up literally broke.

The Broke 30 for 30 documentary featured interviews with athletes who have seen their personal portfolios take a turn for the worse (Bernie Kosar, Andre Rison, Keith McCants, Curt Schilling, Cliff Floyd, Leon Searcy, Sean Salisbury, and more) along with an assortment of financial advisers, bloggers, coaches, and athletes who’ve managed their money well.

Many of the common athletes you hear about going broke (Mike Tyson, Antoine Walker, Allen Iverson, Michael Vick) are touched upon, but one major disappointment for me was the lack of any real in-depth look at one particular athletes financial history as an example. Instead of really digging in, the movie just glosses over everything without digging in deep.

The documentary is certainly thought provoking and I applaud Billy Corben for getting a bunch of professional athletes (typically among the most prideful people alive) to talk about their financial mistakes. Watching the movie, though, I couldn’t help but feel the same way before I felt before watching this. During the entire 90 minutes, I felt like I was being manipulated into trying to feel sorry for athletes, but I can’t help but think that these guys are either a) dumb, b) poorly advised, or c) both. Of course, the documentary does touch on just that, as well, but I find it difficult to feel incredibly sorry for athletes who are buying thousands and thousands of dollars in jewelry & cars while paying tons of money in alimony and child support. The excuse, used over and over again, is these guys generally come from poor backgrounds and they are young. I made some financial mistakes in my early 20’s, as well. To spend as exorbitantly and irresponsibly as these guys did (and likely do), it’s not altogether surprising that they have the trouble they do once they retire.

This isn’t in the top tier of the 30 for 30 series. Rather, it’s just a solidly average sports documentary that I’m glad I’ve seen once, but probably won’t go back and revisit (as I have with Corben’s “The U”).

6.5

out of 10

03

10 2012

The Two Escobars

In early 2009, Bill Simmons announced he was involved with a new thing called “30 for 30” at ESPN. It was going to be 30 documentaries made by talented filmmakers about 30 sports stories from the past 30 years (at the time, ESPN was celebrating their 30th anniversary as a network).

When the list of 30 movies were announced, a handful of them seemed somewhat hokey (I wasn’t real excited about documentaries about fantasy sports, the Baltimore Colts band, or the USFL). For the most part, though, I was genuinely intrigued. Once the first handful of documentaries aired and thoroughly impressed me, I knew I’d have to tape all of them.

Fast forward a few months to June 2010. My daughter was born on the opening day of the World Cup in South Africa. Having been a lifelong soccer hater (for the most part), I found myself watching the World Cup every morning when I got up early to care for my daughter. Within about 10 days, I found myself really enjoying soccer. Two weeks after she was born, 30-for-30 released “The Two Escobars,” a film by brother Jeff and Michael Zimbalist.

The film, which explored the deaths of Colombian soccer captain Andres Escobar and drug kingpin Pablo Escobar along with the direct ties between drug-money and the Colombian national soccer team, was absolutely groundbreaking. The interviews with the players and other Colombians really helps human this awful story about a time in Colombian history that was both awful (drugs, violence, etc) and wonderful (soccer).

Unfortunately, the drugs and violence was so bad it managed to ruin the (seemingly) one positive thing going on in the country. Shortly after the murder of Andres Escobar following his disappointing own goal against the USA in 1994 World Cup, many of the players on the Colombian national team decide to retire from soccer permanently. The downward spiral of Colombian soccer and corruption involving drug cartels continue to hang over the country like a black cloud even today.

All in all, it’s quite simply as good of a sports documentary as you are ever going to see.

9.5

out of 10

06

09 2012