During what feels like a year without sports, ESPN was able to create a strong reaction with the release of “The Last Dance”. There was a significant amount of attention toward the series on social media. It seemed to help sports fans get their fix during this long stretch of game-less days.
Now with “The Last Dance” finished, the network will continue to dominate Sunday evenings with three new 30 for 30 documentaries. They will show a two part program on Lance Armstrong May 24th, and 31st. A Bruce Lee documentary will come out June 7th. Lastly, a look back at the 1998 home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa will debut on June 14th.
This two-parter is set up as Armstrong telling "his truth", as he put it in the trailer. This documentary has a chance to be really interesting. Hopefully they highlight Armstrong’s life and career, warts and all. If they talked to people critical of him and his decisions it can turn into a must watch for any sports fan.
If the creators let Armstrong control the narrative unchallenged problems will arise. The “The Last Dance” faced similar criticism. Hopefully they interviewed people in the cyclist community who are still angry with Armstrong for his cheating and lies. This documentary can run into problems if there are not enough dissenting voices included. It will definitely be worth a watch at first, regardless of the direction it takes.
This will be the least controversial of these three documentaries. This program will be centered around martial arts legend and pop culture icon Lee Jun-fan, or known by you and me as Bruce Lee.
This doc seems more ambiguous regarding the precise focus of the program. The trailer does not touch on what audiences should expect, other than Lee being the obvious focal point. However, any avenue the doc focuses on will sure be worth viewing. Whether it goes deep into Lee’s philosophy on martial arts, his impact on Asian American culture, or his lasting impression in Hollywood it has the makings of a fascinating documentary.
The last doc will dive into the 1998 home run battle between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. This program, similar to the Armstrong one, should not pull any punches on the two using steroids.
Hopefully people and players who are still disappointed with McGwire and Sosa are included in the program. This season unfortunately left a black mark on the game and defined the “Steroid Era”. This home run chase helped bring baseball’s popularity back. Unfortunately, this race only damaged the reputation of the sport, league, and players years later. This doc has a chance to be excellent if the creators did not let McGwire and Sosa spin a phony narrative.
With professional sports still on hiatus these three docs have a chance to really wet the sports’ fan beak. However, sloppy execution will leave viewers yearning for the full, complex stories.
Follow Chad on Twitter @shutupchadjones