Your New Year’s Holiday Netflix Binge on Sports Documentaries
Last week, we detailed six great sports documentaries on Netflix we thought you already knew about, including “Elway to Marino” and “You Don’t Know Bo” – two of the all-time best ESPN 30 For 30s ever!
We got you through Christmas, and probably the long weekend with relatives, and now it’s time for us to help you manage your long New Year’s weekend. There are plenty of college football games going on, as well as 16 NFL games on Sunday, but if you’re like me – a Buccaneers and USF Bulls fan – then you’ll be happy to rotate in a great sports documentary in place of a game you have no rooting interest.
Our perfect solution for the holiday doldrums is a Netflix binge on sports documentaries that will remind you of (possibly) better days for your life and your teams.
Netflix Binge on Sports Documentaries: Reliving Stories You Don’t Know
As I mentioned before, I’m an ‘80s kid that had my adult sports life in the ‘90s, which is the sweet spot for ESPN’s 30 For 30 series. Below are six of my favorite sports documentaries that you might not have any knowledge of – or stories that you think you know, but you also think won’t be interesting.Wrong!
All six of these great sports documentaries are available on Netflix right now. Enjoy!
“The Prince of Pennsylvania”
You don’t have to be into Olympic wrestling to take in this dark documentary about one of the sports world’s weirdest stories. A movie called, “Foxcatcher” came out last year which detailed this story, but the plot points were later debated by one of the Schultz brothers. I don’t want to spoil this plot too much, other than to say multimillionaire John du Pont was king of this world, helping train U.S. Olympic wrestlers – and he had some screws loose.
“The Two Escobars”
In the early ‘90s, Colombian soccer was on top of the world, competing with the likes of Brazil, Argentina and Italy. But the rise of that Colombian team and the drug cartel run by kingpin Pablo Escobar was more than coincidental, which made the tragedy surrounding this story even more interesting. (Side note: After watching this, give “Narcos” a try, which is basically the serialization of Pablo Escobar’s story, as told by an FBI agent.
“Of Miracles and Men”
This is why these sports documentaries are so damn compelling. We all know about the “Do you believe in miracles?” 1980 U.S. Olympic Hockey team, but do we know about the Russian team they beat? The rise of Russian hockey is amazing, considering they implemented their own style of hockey away from the Canadian system, and the fall of communism couldn’t have come soon enough.
Jim Kelly, Herschel Walker, Bruce Smith, Doug Flutie, Steve Young, Steve Spurrier and Reggie White all got their professional football starts in the United States Football League. That’s right, the USFL might have been a startup spring football league, but it was loaded with great talent, and it got snuffed out too soon. This doc explains it all, including how a bad-haired megalomaniac named Donald Trump almost turned the sports world upside down.
“Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot”
While this movie isn’t from ESPN’s 30 For 30 series, it’s still a great story about a German kid that somehow paired up with a like-minded (albeit unorthodox) basketball coach that helped him become one of the best basketball players in the world in the 21st century.
For everything that is good about Nowitzki’s story, this biographical documentary about Maryland’s Len Bias is equally as horrible. The second overall pick of the 1986 NBA Draft, one pick after Brad Daugherty, became the posterboy for athletes throwing away careers because of drugs for the next 20 years. There’s no telling where the Boston Celtics franchise would have gone if Bias developed alongside Hall of Famers like Larry Bird and Kevin McHale.
Enjoy your Netflix binge on sports documentaries over the long New Year’s weekend!
Herschel Walker and Donald Trump Photo Credit: The Sporting News, Getty Images
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