ESPN’s Latest 30 For 30 Special To Air October 23rd

Courtesy: ESPN

The latest film in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series is set to air next Tuesday, October 23rdBenji delves into the untimely death of high school basketball phenom Ben Wilson.  Wilson hailed from Chicago’s Southside.  The Simeon High School student was only seventeen years old in 1984, and was the country’s most promising young basketball prospect.  He was everything that was good about Chicago.  He was just a good young man and was the first high school player in the city’s history to be ranked number one.  But the day before his senior season, Wilson was gunned down. 

A number of NBA players have worn Wilson’s number 25 on their jerseys in his memory since his murder, including:  Derrick Rose, Juwan Howard, and Nick Anderson.    Even current top ranked player and Simeon High School standout Jabari Parker has Wilson’s number stitched into his team sneakers.  Coodie Simmons co-directs the upcoming film.  He said of it, “Ben’s death brought such grief to Chicago when it happened and it is sad to see that gang violence there is as bad as it was back in the 1980’s.”  He expanded on his sentiment saying, “All filmmakers hope that their film can have a powerful impact on people and maybe sharing Ben’s story can shed some much needed light on this epidemic.”

Benji airs on ESPN/ESPN HD next Tuesday night, October 23rd at 8pm EST and is being presented by Buick Verano.  It was a selection at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival and Chicago International Film Festival.  The final pieces in this line of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series are:  Ghosts of Ole Miss and You Don’t Know BoGhosts of Ole Miss will air Tuesday, October 30th at 8pm EST.  You Don’t Know Bo will air Saturday, December 8th at 9pm EST.  Each film in ESPN’s 30 for 30 series will be available on iTunes and Amazon the day after each special airs.  To get all the latest updates on ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, audiences can go online to http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30 and http://twitter.com/30for30

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ESPN Films announces new “30 for 30″ series

ESPN Films has announced the return of its hit “30 for 30″ series.  The series will return with thirty new stories this fall.  “30 for 30 Vol. II” is set to air in October.  The new series will be a little bit different from the original “30 for 30.”  It will include a new partnership with Grantland.com.  the partnership will see the debut of an all new series of digital shorts titled, “30 for 30 Shorts” that will run on Grantland.com.

Each of the digital shorts will run in a format similar to the original “30 for 30″ films.  They will be told from the point of view of the filmmaker, and will reflect how the film maker combines the feature with his/her own style of film making.  The online series will begin running on Grantland.com this September.  A preview of the series is online now, the “30 for 30″ short, “Here and Now.”  “Here and Now” is about Cincinatti Reds legend Pete Rose.  Some of the shorts scheduled to run as part of the upcoming “30 For 30 Vol. II” include:  “Benji”, “Broke”, “Bo Knows”, and “The Season of Their Lives.” 

“Benji” centers on the life and tragic death of 17-year-old basketball talent, Ben Wilson.  Wilson was called, “Magic Johnson with a jump shot.”  The Chicago youth was a top college basketball prospect, until his tragic murder in 1984.

“Broke” delves into what leads so many sports megastars to go from riches to rags.  It used interviews with New York Jets star Bart Scott and retired stars Keith Mccants, Bernie Kosar, Leon Searcy and Andre Rison to look into the psychology of stars who have lost everything.

“Bo Knows” follows the legacy of sports superstar Bo Jackson.  By following the life and legacy of this sports legend, film maker Mike Bonfiglio examines how athletes are marketed and the expectations placed onto them as a result of said marketing.

“The Season of Their Lives” follows what is one of the most amazing seasons in the history of the North Carolina State Wolfpack men’s basketball team.  Jonathan Hock documents the team’s struggle and sudden surge to the NCAA title game in the 1982-1983 season.  Hock tells the Wolfpack’s unlikely miracle season, and following tragedy, through the vantage point of then team Captain Dereck Whittenburg.  It all begins this October.

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