Better known for its comprehensive sports coverage ranging from major league sports to fierce debate and analysis shows, ESPN is also responsible for producing stellar documentaries highlighting the cherished yet complicated world of sports. The 30 for 30 documentary series, originally aimed to celebrate ESPN’s 30-year anniversary with 30 of the best sports stories throughout history, has since soared past its original idea, with over 157 episodes and five different volumes. Since its growth in popularity among general audiences and the sports world as a whole, ESPN’s 30 for 30 has made undeniable impacts in sports journalism, with O.J.: Made in America receiving the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature in 2017. And though it wasn’t technically part of the official 30 for 30 series, the ESPN-Netflix documentary the Last Dance captured the screens of millions across the country during the early days of the pandemic.
With dazzling film editing and in-depth interviews with some of the biggest sports figures in history, let’s take a look at the best 30 for 30 episodes that highlight why the series remains beloved to this day.