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ESPN Films 30 for 30 series returns tonight

SportKevin Perry

The Second Volume of ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Series Returns with Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau

Premieres Tuesday October 15 at 9pm on ESPN

ESPN Films announces the return of the Peabody award-winning film series 30 For 30, with Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau, a 2013 Tribeca Film Festival selection, which will premiere on ESPN Tuesday October 15 at 9pm

     Hawaiian - The Legend of Eddie Aikau


Hawaiian - The Legend of Eddie Aikau

Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau is narrated by Josh Brolin, directed by Sam George (Riding Giants) and produced by Stacy Peralta (Dogtown and Z-Boys) and Paul Taublieb (The Vow).

“Eddie Would Go” is a phrase that has long carried deep meaning with countless Hawaiians and surfers worldwide. Hawaiian: The Legend of Eddie Aikau goes beyond those famous three words and chronicles the remarkable life and power of Eddie Aikau, the legendary Hawaiian big wave surfer, pioneering lifeguard and ultimately doomed crew member of the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a.  With a rich combination of archival imagery, contemporary interviews and meticulously researched historical source material, this film is a compelling exploration of the tragic decline and extraordinary re-birth of the Hawaiian culture as personified by a native son whose dynamic life and heroic death served as inspiration to an entire spiritual movement.

“Our goal with the 30 for 30 series is to always entertain and inform fans by offering a rich, detailed look at various sports and athletes,” said Connor Schell, vice president of ESPN Films.  “Eddie Aikau’s story explores both the spirit of the Hawaiian people and that of the surfing culture while also providing an examination of one man’s life and what it has meant to so many.”


Also in this series of 30 For 30 Documentaries

Free Spirits (Director: Daniel H. Forer) – Tuesday October 22 at 9pm

When the NBA merged with the American Basketball Association in 1976, four ABA franchises joined the more established league – the Nets, Nuggets, Pacers and Spurs.  But one of the odd teams out found a different way to secure its future.  Free Spirits tells the colorful story of the Spirits of St. Louis – an entertaining and at times controversial team featuring stars like Marvin “Bad News” Barnes and James “Fly” Williams with an upstart sportscaster named Bob Costas calling the play-by-play. The Spirits managed to pull off a stunning playoff upset of the defending champions in their first season, and then, on their way to franchise extinction, co-owners Daniel and Ozzie Silna managed to negotiate a contract that has allowed the team to continue to exist in the most unusual fashion.


No Mas (Director: Eric Drath) – Tuesday November 5 at 9pm

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.  No Mas unveils for the first time what really happened, going behind the scenes of these two showdowns with the help of boxing experts, family members and the two fighters themselves.


Big Shot (Director: Kevin Connolly) – Tuesday November 12 at 9pm

In 1996, the once-dominant New York Islanders were in serious trouble.   Lousy performance and poor management were driving away the hockey franchise’s loyal fan base.  The team hit bottom.  Then along came a Dallas businessman named John Spano, who swooped in and agreed to buy the team for 165 million dollars.  Things began to look up for the Islanders –  way up.  But it was all smoke and mirrors.  Big Shot goes inside an extraordinary scandal that engulfed the Islanders.  Featuring the only interview Spano has ever given about the Islanders deal, this film is an unforgettable tale of a dream that became a lie – and how a scam of such epic proportions initially went undetected.


This is What They Want (Directors: Brian Koppelman and David Levien) – Tuesday November 19 at 9pm

When Jimmy Connors arrived in New York for the 1991 U.S. Open, the one-time tennis superstar was 8 years removed from his last Grand Slam singles title, ranked 174th in the world and approaching his 39th birthday.  Not exactly a recipe for success.  But on the verge of a quick first-round exit, Connors suddenly and unexpectedly re-captured the magic, embarking on a stirring and extraordinary run than included an epic contest with Aaron Krickstein on his way to the semifinals.  This is What They Want not only illuminates this highly improbably march past a series of talented and youthful adversaries, it also explores how Connors became a polarizing and provocative personality who helped make tennis a high-octane spectator sport.


Bernie and Ernie – Tuesday December 10 at 9pm

When basketball fans mention Bernard King, we conjure the same image, a prolific scorer, a fierce competitor and an NBA legend. But few are aware of what made King the man he is today. King is a notoriously enigmatic figure, but one of those who knows him best is Ernie Grunfeld. Both are from the New York City area, yet their hardwood paths only crossed once in high school. They joined forces at the University of Tennessee. Soon dubbed “The Bernie & Ernie Show,” the duo averaged 50 points a game, the most potent 1-2 punch in college basketball. But behind closed doors, their experiences were vastly different.  Bernie & Ernie is the story of an unlikely friendship, forged over four decades, between two men who shared little in common except the game of basketball.


Youngstown Boys – Sunday December 15 at 1pm

Youngstown Boys is a feature documentary exploring class and power dynamics in college sports through the parallel, interconnected journeys of Maurice Clarett and Jim Tressel.   These two stars emerged from opposite sides of the tracks in Youngstown, Ohio.  They joined together for a magic season at Ohio State University in 2002 and a national championship.   Shortly thereafter, Clarett was banished from college football and began a downward spiral that ended with a prison term.  Tressel continued at Ohio State for another eight years before his career there also ended in scandal.  Now, both Youngstown Boys are attempting to reinvent themselves and resurrect their lives.