ESPN’s 30 documentaries start tonight with Peter Berg’s film about Wayne Gretzky

Celebrating its 30th anniversary, ESPN is debuting 30 sports-themed documentaries about significant but perhaps forgotten events in sports from the past 30 years, and they are directed by 30 filmmakers, including Barry Levinson, Frank Marshall, Albert Maysels, and Ice Cube.

Called 30 For 30, the idea for the series came from ESPN’s Bill Simmons, who’s a reality TV and documentary fan in addition to being a columnist. In an introductory essay to the series, Simmons writes that the films are not “typical documentaries with highlights and talking heads and a chronological theme” but are “stories with a beginning, middle and end” and “resonated at the time but were eventually forgotten for whatever reason.”

The series is debuting a new film Tuesday nights over the next few weeks; check out the schedule and a preview of the films:

30 For 30 kicks off tonight with filmmaker Peter Berg’s contribution Kings Ransom, which debuts at 8 p.m. ET and explores the Edmonton Oilers’ trade of 27-year-old Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings. Here’s a preview:

30 For 30 [ESPN]

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about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.