ESPN Films’ Latest Release Debuts April 17th

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN Films debuts the latest release in its 30 for 30 series next month.

Bad Boys, the latest film from ESPN Films’ hit series, premieres Thursday, April 17th at 8pm ET on ESPN.  The film was produced by NBA Entertainment and helmed by Zak Levitt.  The film’s story centers on the Detroit Pistons’ heyday of the late 80s and early 90s.  The Pistons of the 80s and 90s was one of those teams that fans either loved or hated.  There was no in between for this squad.  Those that loved the team called it a group of men that wasn’t afraid to work hard and really get in the paint.  It was a team, to those fans, that was afraid of no one.  That same win at all costs mentality is also what led many to despise the team.

The film highlights the highs and lows of the team’s heyday through interviews with the likes of Isiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Adrian Dantley, and Mark Aguirre among others.  The interviews give viewers a more personal look at what made the team one of the league’s most talked about. Also included are personal insights from some of the biggest names to face Detroit during the late 80s and early 90s. Those names include: Michael Jordan, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Kevin McHale, Dominique Wilkins, and James Worthy.  Former NBA Commissioner David Stern also shares his thoughts on what made the team such a lightning rod in the league at that time.

The premiere of Bad Boys will be followed immediately by Grantland’s Bad Boys Remix, a special one-hour presentation featuring Bill Simmons and Jalen Rose.  The pair will be joined by Isiah Thomas and Doug Collins to discuss the film.  The pair will also share more thoughts on the highs and lows of the Pistons.  Along with their appearance on Grantland’s Bad Boys Remix, Thomas and Collins will be part of Grantland’s “Detroit Week” package, kicking off April 14th.  Grantland’s “Detroit Week” will include written features about the city of Detroit and its history as well as Detroit-themed podcasts on the Grantland Network.

More information on ESPN Films and its hit 30 for 30 series is available online at http://www.facebook.com/espn30for30, http://twitter.com/30for30, and http://www.espn.com/30for30.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

ESPN Announces Upcoming Coverage Schedule Changes

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN has announced that it has made some slight changes to its NBA coverage for games in January and February.  The scheduling changes add games for the Pacers, Blazers, and Suns on the ESPN family of networks.  The first set of changes affect ESPN’s NBA coverage on Wednesday, January 22nd.  ESPN has added a matchup of the Indiana Pacers, who currently sit atop the Eastern Conference, and the Phoenix Suns.  That matchup is scheduled for a 10:30pm ET tip-off.  This addition means that the originally scheduled game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs has been pushed to an 8pm ET start time.  It also results in the previously scheduled game between the Bulls and Cavaliers has been knocked off the night’s schedule.

The second change to ESPN’s NBA coverage schedule is the addition of a matchup between the Trailblazers and Pacers.  That newly added matchup is scheduled for Friday, February 7th.  It is scheduled for a 7pm ET tip-off.  It takes the place of the network’s originally scheduled broadcast of the Cavaliers at Wizards.

While games have been replaced on the air, fans of all teams involved can always catch their team online via WatchESPN.  More information on ESPN’s NBA coverage is available online at http://www.facebook.com/NBAonESPN and http://espn.com/nba.  To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

Junior Welterweight Bout Headlines May 10th Edition Of FNF

Courtesy:  ESPN

Courtesy: ESPN

ESPN’s Friday Night Fights returns with another full card Friday, May 10th.  This week’s card is headlined by a matchup of two Junior Welterweights.  Vernon “The Iceman” Paris (27 – 1, 16 KOs) faces off against Manny “Manos” Perez (19 – 8 – 1, 4 KOs) in a ten-round main event.  Friday’s main event will be broadcast live from the Masonic Temple in Detroit at 10pm ET.  The fight will air live on ESPN2 HD and online and mobile internet via WatchESPN and the WatchESPN app.  ESPN Deportes will pick up the fight in progress following the conclusion of the NBA Playoff matchup between the   Chicago Bulls and Miami Heat. 

Paris comes into Friday’s fight with quite a bit of momentum, having beaten Guy Pucker with a third-round KO in his most recent fight.  Before that bout, Paris also had fought three-time Welterweight and Welterweight titlist Zab Judah.  Paris was upbeat in an interview when asked about what to expect from Friday’s bout.  He noted that he was definitely prepared for the fight.  “I’ve started working with my new coach, Herman Caicedo, and have been preparing for this fight ever since my last fight,” he said.  “My new coach is good. He’s teaching me to keep my hands up. The plan – what I’m going to do in the ring – that’s all coming together. I’m feeling real good about it.” 

Perez has his own momentum coming into this week’s main event.  He won three of his previous four matches including a ten-round split decision over Jose Cotto (Miguel Cotto’s brother) and a ten-round unanimous decision over Edgar Santana.  He won his most recent fight, a seven round unanimous decision win over Bernardo Guereca. 

Perez sounded focused but realistic when asked about taking on Paris.  “I know Paris is very, very tough, and I anticipate a tough fight,” Perez said.  “Those are the fights I like. I’ve said it before – you don’t become the best without fighting the best. You have to fight and beat the best. I’m working on my jab a lot now, and just want to show more variety in my shots this fight. I want to show better angles, and a better variety of right hands. I want to apply the right kind of pressure and just break him down. I’m looking forward to putting on a great performance.”

Friday’s fight between Paris and Perez will be preceded by a co-feature pitting a pair of Featherweights against each other.  Cornelius “Lightning” Lock (20 – 6 – 1, 13 KOs) and “El Negro Mexicano Lightning” Lonnie Smith (14 – 4 – 3, 10 KOs) will face off in a ten-round fight.  Lock won his most recent fight with a second-round TKO win over Damon Antoine.  Smith’s last fight ended in a seventh-round technical draw against Michael Perez.

FNF hosts Teddy Atlas and Joe Tessitore will both be on hand to call all of the evening’s action for ESPN2 HD.  They will be joined by studio host Todd Grisham with all of the latest boxing news and Highlights.  Pablo Viruega and Delvin Rodriguez will call the matches for ESPN Deportes.  Claudia Trejos and Leopoldo Gonzales will join them from the ESPN Deportes studios.  Bernardo Osuna will have live interviews and reports for ESPN2 HD and ESPN Deportes. 

Friday Night’s new edition of FNF is presented by Corona Extra and is promoted by Millennium Promotions.   

Fans can keep up with all the latest boxing news when they “Like” the FNF Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/espn.fnf.  Once fans “Like” the FNF Facebook page, they can use the LIVE Friday Night Fights Voting app on the ESPN FNF Facebook page to score each match themselves from the comfort of their homes.  And for even more on Friday Night Fights, fans can keep up with the show on Twitter at http://twitter.com/#!/FNF

To keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it.  Fans can always keep up with the latest sports and entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.

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

To get the latest entertainment news and reviews, go online to http://www.facebook.com/philspicks and “Like” it or its companion page, http://www.facebook.com/pages/Reel-Reviews/381028148587141.  Fans can always keep up with the latest entertainment news and reviews in the Phil’s Picks blog at http://philspicks.wordpress.com.