ESPN’s ’30 on 30′ continues to delight

In a season full of pleasant surprises — “Modern Family,” “Men of a Certain Age” and “The Good Wife” to name only a few — ESPN’s docuseries “30 on 30” ranks right up there.Hank-gathers-loyola-marymount

Being a former sportswriter, I’m naturally inclined to check out behind-the-headlines stories of seminal sports moments on and off the field, and I’ve caught the first seven so far. Tough to pick a favorite, but maybe the piece on Jimmy “The Greek” Snyder, the gambler-turned-CBS studio personality whose rags to riches to rags story was a revelation. I vividly remember watching the Greek sitting alongside Brent Musburger, Irv Cross and Phyllis George on Sunday afternoons before those classic NFC Redskins-Cowboys and Giants-Eagles matchups.

Reason I bring all this up is that I need to find the time to watch the most release doc, “Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks” from director Dan Klores and the April 3 Bill Couturie’s “Guru of Go,” the tragic story of Loyola Marymount U.’s Hank Gathers, who collapsed and died on the court when the 1989-90 Lions were a national ranked team.

After getting into the originals business a few years back, ESPN’s movies never had the production values of an HBO, and that never put the cabler on the same level with others. Now, however, it’s nice to see the network — a money-printing machine for Disney — make more of an investment in its homegrown product.

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