NAISMITH DOC HEADLINES ESPN SLATE

A documentary on basketball’s founder James Naismith and the tragic tale of a young Chicago hoops prodigy headline ESPN’s new 30 for 30 series which begins this week.

More than 15 in-depth shows will be screened across the station’s three UK channels, including and a slate of films focusing on stories from a wide range of sports.

ESPN America’s series begins with Broke on November 7 at 7pm.  The next three films – There’s No Place Like Home, Benji and Ghosts of Ole Miss will debut on consecutive Wednesday nights in November.  A fifth 30 For 30 documentary, You Don’t Know Bo, will debut in December.

Josh Swade visits Naismith’s grave (ESPN)

There’s No Place Like Home recounts how, on December 10, 2010, Sotheby’s auctioned off one of the most important historical document in sports history: Naismith’s original rules of basketball.

It is the story of fan Josh Swade’s obsessive quest to win this seminal artefact at auction and bring the rules “home” to Lawrence, Kansas, where Naismith coached and taught for more than 40 years.

Benji goes back to 1984, when 17-year-old Ben Wilson (pictured above) was a symbol of everything promising about Chicago: a beloved, sweet-natured youngster from the city’s fabled South Side, and America’s most talented basketball prospect.

His senseless murder the day before his senior season sent ripples through Chicago and the United States.

To accompany these documentaries, ESPN also commissioned a 30-part digital short film series. 30 for 30 Shorts is a collaboration with Bill Simmons’ Grantland.com and will be similar to the feature-length films – in that each piece will represent a specific point of view of the filmmaker and reflect how they blend the narrative with their own visual style.

The first two 30 For 30 Shorts are available on ESPN.com and Grantland.com. Arnold’s Blueprint focuses on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s teenage years in the Austrian Army and how the farm boy’s mandatory military service played a critical role in his journey to international fame. Here Now follows former Cincinnati Reds great (and all-time Major League baseball hit leader) Pete Rose as he continues to be surrounded by baseball. But instead of a dugout, he’s seated on a folding chair in a memorabilia store in Vegas.

Check ESPN.co.uk/tv for listings.

Main photo: Robert-Hope-Reid/ESPN

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