Five Sports Documentaries To Watch While At Home

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Michael Raupp, Sports Editor

Michael Raupp, Editor

The live sporting events we had circled on our calendars for months — March Madness, NBA and NHL playoffs, MLB Opening Day, the Masters, and many more — are all either cancelled or moved to a tentative date in upcoming months, but that doesn’t mean we cannot go back into the past and revisit some of the most extraordinary stories in sports history.

Here are five sports documentaries that fans must watch.  

 

The Last Dance 

Originally slated to be released on June 23, ESPN has announced the much anticipated 10-part documentary focusing on the 1997-1998 Chicago Bulls — the last of their six championships in the 1990’s — will air on April 19th amid fans taking to social media with no live sports on television. 

The miniseries will feature unprecedented film from the access of a crew that Michael Jordan and the Bulls granted full access to document their quest for a second three-peat during the ‘97-’98 season that included all kinds of adversity to remain on top of the basketball world for the sixth time in eight seasons. 

The series will launch two new episodes every Sunday night through May 17 with an abundance of interviews from players and coaches on the ‘97-’98 team and from other prominent figures, including the late Kobe Bryant and rivals Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing.

 

Hoop Dreams

An Oscar nominated film from the 1990’s documents the lives of two inner-city Chicago boys named William Gates and Arthur Agee who are followed during their entire high school career with the hopes to escape poverty and be recruited by colleges to be the stepping stone in reaching the NBA. The movie spans six years from the time the boys were recruited by suburban high school basketball powerhouse St. Joseph’s in eighth grade through their first year of college.

Essentially living in the shoes of two boys who fight to make it through endless obstacles both on and off the court, the film is much more than just basketball and shows the importance of family, values, and resilience. 

 

The ‘85 Bears

Arguably the greatest football team ever put together, the 1985 Chicago Bears had all the talent, egos, and firepower that was unparalleled by any other team. 

The two hour film narrated by LFHS graduate Vince Vaughn walked viewers through the on field dominance to the off the field personalities of the team that recorded the infamous Super Bowl shuffle eight weeks before the rout of the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XX. Obviously, the team knew how formidable they were, which begs the question how they won just a single Super Bowl? From losing their quarterback Jim McMahon in 1986 on a dirty hit by Packer Charles Martin late in 1986, to losing defensive mastermind Buddy Ryan after a rift between head coach Mike Ditka and him, the peak of success to the struggle to make it back to the big game is all broken down.

Below is a clip of Mike Singletary with the late architect of the famed ‘85 defense, Buddy Ryan, which was one of the last scenes of the film.

 

O.J.: Made in America

This 2016 documentary chronicles the life of star running back O.J. Simpson that was turned upside down after being put on trial for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Lyle Goldman.

The film begins from his emerging days at University of Southern California to becoming one of the best in the NFL and all the twists in turns of his turbulent life that went from stardom, domestic abuse, to how he was acquitted in the so-called “trial of the century” that was heard in every nook and cranny of the country, and his recent imprisonment of robbery and kidnapping conviction years after his acquittal. 

 

Nine Innings From Ground Zero

Following the tragedy of the terror attacks in New York City on 9/11, the documentary demonstrates how the New York Yankees became a national sensation during their 2001 World Series run. In a time where American’s needed sports the most (like now), the film documents how people in New York and those around the country rallied behind the Yankees as a distraction and sense of hope from the uncertainty that was happening around them. 

The hour long film interviews Yankee legend Derek Jeter, Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and President Bush who famously threw a perfect strike when throwing the first pitch in Game 3 of the series at Yankee Stadium.