Documentaries Feature Basketball’s Shaquille O’Neal, Coach Bernadette Locke and Dominique Wilkins, as well as Baseball’s Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro
SEC Network announced a new slate of ESPN Films’ SEC Storied documentaries from the Southeastern Conference Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville, Tenn., today. The series will premiere four documentaries on consecutive Mondays beginning April 13 on SEC Network. The new slate covers the lasting friendship between Shaquille O’Neal and his former coach Dale Brown, assistant coach Bernadette Locke’s impact on the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball program in the early ‘90s, Dominique Wilkins’ troubled transition from high school in North Carolina to the University of Georgia, and the 1985 Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball duo Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro, dubbed “Thunder and Lightning.”
The SEC Storied franchise, from the creators of the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series, focuses on the people, teams, moments and events that tell the ongoing story of the Southeastern Conference.
The documentaries will air on SEC Network as follows (all ET):
Monday, April 13, at 9 p.m. – “Shaq & Dale”
Monday, April 20, at 9 p.m. – “Coach Bernie”
Monday, April 27, at 9 p.m. – “Dominique Belongs to Us”
Monday, May 4, at 9 p.m. – “Thunder and Lightning”
*Digital screeners for all films available upon request*
“Shaq & Dale” Directed by Hannah Storm
“Shaq & Dale,” narrated by Louisiana native and music superstar Tim McGraw, follows former basketball great Shaquille O’Neal as he returns to LSU to visit with Dale Brown, the coach who helped make it all possible. The relationship between these two men goes back to the time when Shaq was 13 and living on an army base in Germany when he asked the coach for some exercise tips. Since that day, O’Neal has received at least one letter or email from Brown every week—and a lot more of them during their three years together in Baton Rouge. Back then, they might have seemed very different, but they forged a deep friendship that they cherish to this day.
“Coach Bernie” Directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern
When Rick Pitino was hired to coach the Kentucky basketball team in 1989, the once-proud program was reeling from NCAA probation and the loss of scholarships. He needed to shake things up and give the players who stayed a fresh perspective. To help achieve this, in 1990 he hired Bernadette Locke, only the second female assistant coach in Division I men’s basketball history. A former star point guard with the University of Georgia, Locke brought knowledge, spirit and academic discipline to the Wildcats. In two years, Kentucky basketball returned to prominence and, though still undermanned by the loss of scholarships, the Wildcats made it all the way to the Elite 8 in 1992. As Pitino and her fellow assistants Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith attest, Coach Bernie made a difference.
“Dominique Belongs To Us” Directed by Kenan K. Holley
Before the basketball world came to know him as “The Human Highlight Film,” a teenage Dominique Wilkins quickly became the toast of his new hometown of Washington, North Carolina. The 6’8” basketball star led the Pam Pack to 56 straight victories and two state titles. But when he chose the University of Georgia over local ACC schools, the cheers turned to jeers and resentment twisted the high school highlights into a lowlight. That betrayal left ‘Nique distrustful of fans until a community of support in Georgia convinced him otherwise and paved the way for his return home.
“Thunder and Lightning” Directed by Rory Karpf
The best team never to win the College World Series? It might have been the 1985 Mississippi State Bulldogs, who produced four Major League Baseball All-Stars. Two of them, Bobby Thigpen and Jeff Brantley, became Relievers of the Year, while the other two, Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro, formed the imposing one-two hitting punch known as “Thunder and Lightning.” The brash and bold Clark was born in New Orleans, the son of a pool hustler, while the soft-spoken and shy Palmeiro was a son of Cuban immigrants who did his talking at the plate. As teammates at Mississippi State, they nearly propelled the Bulldogs to a College World Series title. Thirty years later, director Rory Karpf revisits those fabled Bulldogs, tracks the complicated relationship between Clark and Palmeiro, and brings closure to men who should be remembered for what they did, and not for what they didn’t do.
ESPN Films launched the SEC Storied documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the Southeastern Conference. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the SEC Storied series features films that focus on the SEC’s recent and more distant past. In August, the franchise expanded its yearly slate two-fold with the launch of the SEC Network.
The SEC Network
The Southeastern Conference and ESPN have signed a 20-year agreement through 2034 to create and operate a multiplatform network launched August 14, 2014. The new network and its accompanying digital platform will carry SEC content 24/7 including more than 1,000 events in its first year. The network will televise 45 SEC football games, more than 100 men’s basketball games, 60 women’s basketball games, 75 baseball games, and events from across the SEC’s 21 sports annually. Programming will also include in-depth commentary and analysis in studio shows, daily news and information, original content such as SEC Storied, spring football games, and more. AT&T U-verse® TV, Bright House Networks, Charter, Comcast Xfinity TV, Cox Communications, DIRECTV, DISH, Google Fiber, LUS Fiber, Mediacom, PTC Communications, Suddenlink, Time Warner Cable, Wilkes Telephone, and members of the NCTC, NRTC and NTTC and will carry the television network nationwide at launch. Hundreds of additional live events from various sports will be offered exclusively as SEC Network+ events on WatchESPN and SECNetwork.com through authenticated access from AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, DIRECTV, DISH, Google Fiber, Suddenlink, and members of the NCTC, NRTC and NTTC.
Jay Jay Nesheim: ESPN Films [email protected]
Gracie Blackburn: SEC Network [email protected]