ESPN will debut the next installment in the Peabody and Emmy award-winning 30 for 30 series, “The Greatest Mixtape Ever,” on May 31. Directed by Chris Robinson (“Shooting Stars,” “ATL”) and Set Free Richardson, the documentary examines how 1990s streetball and the And1 Mixtape transformed basketball culture at large. “The Greatest Mixtape Ever” will premiere May 31 at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. The film will be made available on ESPN+ immediately after its premiere, along with the rest of the 30 for 30 library.
In the late 1990s, a burgeoning young New York City DJ, Set Free, had the idea to set some grainy streetball highlights to a soundtrack of emerging rap music. The results culminated in what came to be known as the And1 Mixtape, a series of VHS tapes that forever transformed the game of basketball.
“This moment in time is an extraordinary piece of culture, and its impact in the worlds of music and sport is undeniable,” said Robinson. “These were giants of sport that came together from different neighborhoods and elevated not only basketball but the spirit of the community. I’m glad to be a part of telling their story.”
Added Richardson: “Basketball and hip hop have a symbiotic relationship like no other combination of music genre and sport. The history of this mixtape – how streetball VHS tapes, a DJ and streetball players changed the culture of basketball – is essential to understanding that relationship. It had to be told!”
The film is narrated by Jadakiss and features original interviews with Fat Joe, Funk Master Flex, Iman Shumpert, Isiah Thomas, Kemba Walker, Lou Williams, Rafer Alston and Scoop Jackson, among others.
“This film captures an exceptional moment in time and, for those of us lucky enough to remember it, a nostalgia for the incredible talent and community that was on display,” said Marsha Cooke, Vice President & Executive Producer, ESPN Films and 30 for 30. “The beauty of ‘The Greatest Mixtape Ever’ is that it will bring that illustrious chapter to a new generation of fans eager to enrich their knowledge of their favorite sport.”
Additionally, a companion 30 for 30 Podcast “A Streetball Mixtape,” will also debut on May 31. Drawing inspiration from hip hop mixtapes, the podcast explores how streetball – and the way it’s played around the United States – has shaped not just the game of basketball, but the country’s culture. In true mixtape form, this podcast is a compilation of stories, styles, and sounds illuminating the essence of the game. 30 for 30 Podcasts can be found on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, SiriusXM, Pandora, Stitcher, Amazon Music, the ESPN App and wherever podcasts are available.
About ESPN Films
ESPN Films has been an industry leader in documentary filmmaking since its inception in March 2008, producing more than 100 documentaries that have showcased some of the most compelling stories in sports. The high quality of storytelling, highlighted by the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series and the Academy-Award winning documentary “O.J.: Made in America,” has led to record viewership as well as multiple honors and critical acclaim. Additional projects from ESPN Films over the years have included 30 for 30 Shorts, Nine for IX, SEC Storied and Emmy award-winning docu-series “The Last Dance.” ESPN+ is the exclusive home for the entire 30 for 30 library.