ESPN and ESPN Films wind down the Fall 2013 edition of 30 for 30 next Tuesday, November 5th. The Worldwide leader in sports finishes off this season of its Peabody Award-winning series by taking viewers into the world of college basketball in Bernie and Ernie.
Bernie and Ernie takes viewers into the relationship between former college basketball stars Bernard King and Ernie Grunfield. The pair rose to fame as the center of the University of Tennessee’s men’s college basketball team in the mid-1970s. Between them, the pair scored on average fifty points per game. Their rise to fame eventually led to a cover story for Sports Illustrated. While things were coming up roses for the pair in the public eye, things were much different for the two men behind closed doors. There was a distance between the players during their years together on the team. That was because of their different upbringings. King lived hard growing up. Despite being devout Christians, King’s parents offered little to no emotional support to him as he nurtured his talent. And during his college years, he had to endure acts of racial bigotry.
Ernie Grunfeld had a different upbringing than his team mate. As a child, the young Romanian immigrant spoke no English at all. But by his teen years, he was being recruited by some two hundred colleges. He had no clue about everything that King was enduring while the pair were attending the university of Tennessee. This is what would eventually lead to a distance between the players. However, years after they left the Volunteers, the pair would end up reuniting after King was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame this year. Bernie and Ernie examines that friendship from the pair’s years in college up to this year. It is narrated by Public Enemy front man Chuck D and directed by Jason Hehir (The Fab Five). Bernie and Ernie premieres Tuesday, November 5th at 8pm ET on ESPN.
ESPN is set to debut the latest installment in its hugely successful 30 for 30 series presented by ESPN Films. The series continues next Tuesday with the brand new film, Free Spirits.
Free Spirits follows the short-lived but successful career of the St. Louis Free Spirits of the American Basketball Association. The film follows the team’s fight to prove it could hold its own after the dissolution of the American Basketball Association in 1976. The team featured players that while entertaining, were also at times controversial. Among those players were: Marvin “Bad News” Barnes and James “Fly” Williams. Also along for the ride was then very young broadcaster, Bob Costas calling the play-by-play of each of the team’s games. It goes on to explain what has become of the St. Louis Free Spirits since the team’s glory days. It will premiere Tuesday, October 8th at 8pm on ESPN.
Each of the new episodes of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series will be available for download via iTunes and Amazon Instant Video the day after it broadcasts. A complete six-disc collection featuring the first fifteen films from 30 for 30 Volume II is currently scheduled to be released in stores and online just in time for the holiday shopping season on November 26th.
The current slate of films in the latest ongoing 30 for 30 series is available below.
Tuesday, Oct. 8, 8 p.m. – Free Spirits (Director: Daniel H. Forer)
Tuesday, Oct. 15, 8 p.m. – No Más (Director: Eric Drath)
Tuesday, Oct. 22, 8 p.m. – Big Shot (Director: Kevin Connolly)
Tuesday, Oct. 29, 8 p.m. – This is What They Want (Directors: Brian Koppelman and David Levien)
Tuesday, Nov. 5, 8 p.m. – Bernie and Ernie (Director: Jason Hehir)