ON THE occasion of its 30th birthday, ESPN gave itself—and its viewers—a very nice gift: 30 documentaries that examine the past three decades in sports. But the project, called 30 for 30, isn't SportsCentury redux. ESPN went after serious filmmakers—including Barry Levinson, Albert Maysles, Ron Shelton and John Singleton—and invited them to choose off-beat topics, such as Paul Westhead's high-scoring Loyola Marymount teams and Andrés Escobar, the Colombian soccer player who was gunned down after his own goal at the 1994 World Cup. The best of the early releases is The Band That Wouldn't Die, Levinson's look at the Baltimore Colts' Marching Band. It's a heartfelt story of loyalty and dedication, as the band members—after stealing their uniforms from a laundry truck and hiding them in a mausoleum—strive to keep the memory of the Colts alive in the city scorned by owner Robert Irsay.
This is an article from the Dec. 21, 2009 issue