First Film, “Friedman’s Shoes” Debuts Today
ESPN Films’ award-winning 30 for 30 Shorts documentary series has returned with a winter slate of five new short films debuting every Tuesday over the next five weeks. The films will premiere digitally on the 30 for 30 Shorts page (espn.com/30for30/shorts) at 10 a.m. ET each Tuesday, and then will air later that week on Friday Night Movie Night, during the 6 p.m. ET hour of SportsCenter.
The first documentary short, which premiered today, February 8, takes a look at the popular Atlanta shoe store that was the preferred destination for some of the biggest athletes in the country in the ‘80s and ‘90s, even outfitting the feet of entire NBA draft classes. Through interviews with the store owners and athletes, including Shaquille O’Neil and Dennis Scott, “Friedman’s Shoes” explores the story of a family-owned business that was the first to corner the market on super-sized luxury footwear, but later found itself struggling to stay afloat after the rise of internet shopping. The film is directed by Danny Lee and produced by ESPN’s Pablo S. Torre. Watch
Other films in the winter run will be: “Slick, Nancy, and the Telethon,” the story of how the Indiana Pacers avoided financial ruin by holding a telethon in the summer of 1977; “Bad Boy of Bowling” will summarize the story of the past, present and future of bowling as told through the eyes of its most colorful and controversial character, Pete Weber; “I Am Yupik,” which follows a 16-year-old Yup’ik eskimo who is determined to lead his village to the All-Native District Basketball Tournament championship on Alaska’s Bering Sea Coast; and “No Kin to Me” examines the 1981 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Consolation game between Louisiana State University and the University of Virginia, which tipped off less than three hours after the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan. Also: Read ESPN Front Row Story
The schedule is as follows:
|“Friedman’s Shoes”||February 9||espn.com/30for30/shorts|
|February 12||6 p.m. hour of SportsCenter, ESPN|
|“Slick, Nancy, and the Telethon”||February 16||espn.com/30for30/shorts|
|February 19||6 p.m. hour of SportsCenter, ESPN|
|“The Bad Boy of Bowling”||February 23||espn.com/30for30/shorts|
|February 26||6 p.m. hour of SportsCenter, ESPN|
|“I Am Yup’ik”||March 1||espn.com/30for30/shorts|
|March 4||6 p.m. hour of SportsCenter, ESPN|
|“No Kin to Me”||March 8||espn.com/30for30/shorts|
|March 11||6 p.m. hour of SportsCenter, ESPN|
After their digital premieres, the shorts will also be available for viewing on WatchESPN, the ESPN app, and espn.com. Advance screeners for films are available upon request. 30 for 30 Shorts is artfully crafted by Blue Moon
Directed by Danny Lee and produced by Pablo S. Torre
In the ‘80s and ‘90’s, Friedman’s Shoes was the preferred shoe store, and de facto Atlanta clubhouse, of the biggest athletes in the United States. The family-owned business was the first to corner the market on super-sized luxury footwear (size 13 and up), outfitting the feet of entire NBA draft classes. Equally distinctive: Friedman’s prided itself on the old-school customer service of its Brooklyn-born patriarch, Bruce, who always tended to the Barkleys, Shaqs, Magics and Mutombos in person—even employing a driver to ferry customers to strip clubs. But that was then. Today, Friedman’s is a rundown relic of a building, and Bruce is a victim of two major cultural shifts: the rise of athlete fashion and the fall of retail stores. Now a father and his equally colorful sons find themselves longing for the golden age—while desperately struggling to keep the lights on.
“Slick, Nancy, and the Telethon”
Directed by Michael Husain
The Telethon is the story of how the Indiana Pacers avoided financial ruin by holding a “Save The Pacers” telethon in the summer of 1977. Needing season ticket sales and investment, Pacers ownership let it be known they were strongly considering selling or moving the franchise. Led by former Pacer player and then head coach Bobby “Slick” Leonard, and his wife, Assistant General Manager Nancy Leonard, the telethon was a two week, concept to completion, local television event. From local business leaders to kids collecting money door to door, the telethon prompted a basketball-crazed community to pony up and keep their franchise from leaving town.
“The Bad Boy of Bowling”
Directed by Bryan Storkel
In the most notorious moment of his storied career, Pete Weber screamed, “Who do you think you are? I am.” “The Bad Boy of Bowling,” directed by Bryan Storkel, explores the meaning of that schizophrenic shout, uttered for a national television audience right after he won an unprecedented fifth U.S. Open title. He’s the one-time wunderkind son of Dick Weber, the matinee idol of bowling in its heyday. He’s the mullet-wearing PDW who gave much-needed energy to a dying sport with his “crotch shots.” He’s a wise guy who has wised up—at least a little. In this entertaining but piercing roll down memory lane, viewers will discover just who Pete Weber really is.
“I Am Yup’ik”
Directed by Daniele Anastasion and Nathan Golon
Every year they gather from tiny subsistence villages on Alaska’s Bering Sea Coast, traveling hundreds of miles on bush planes to compete on the biggest stage they will ever know — the All-Yup’ik District Basketball Tournament. The hope of Toksook Bay is Byron Nicholai, a 16-year-old Yup’ik Eskimo who is determined to lead his village to the championship. After his father left, Byron didn’t learn how to hunt in the traditional Yupik way. For Byron, this tournament isn’t just about basketball—it’s a way to bring pride to his family and community
“No Kin to Me”
Directed by Marc Kinderman
Rudy Macklin’s jersey is hanging from the rafters at LSU’s Pete Maravich Assembly Center, and for good reason: He is the school’s all-time leading rebounder and second-leading scorer. Macklin led the Tigers to the 1981 Final Four in Philadelphia, where an injured finger hampered him in a semifinal loss to Indiana. Back then, the NCAA Tournament included a third-place game, and that’s where the trouble started for Macklin. Just before the consolation game against Virginia, President Ronald Reagan was shot, and after the loss, Macklin was asked if the news might have affected the team. His widely-reported response—”He’s no kin of mine”—was so blown out of proportion that he feared for his life. In “No Kin to Me,” Macklin talks about the fight to restore his honor.
ESPN Films’ Shorts division premiered over 60 short films in 2015, including projects with Spike Lee, Eva Longoria, Errol Morris, Adidas and Marvel, among others. The group won a Primetime Emmy in the Outstanding Short-Format Nonfiction Program category in 2014 and was nominated for the same category in 2015.
About ESPN Films
Created in March 2008, ESPN Films produces high-quality documentary films showcasing some of the most compelling stories in sports. In October 2009, ESPN Films launched the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 film series. Additional projects from ESPN Films include the decorated series 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX and SEC Storied among others.