Who will want to watch? - Basketball fans of all ages
How safe is it? - Some bleeped language and the general tough tactics
How good is it? - Pretty good, probably better if you know or remember the story
This latest installment of ESPN’s 30 For 30 film series premieres tonight on the channel at 8 p.m.
Back around 1985/86, professional basketball had two teams – the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers. This was the era of Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar. The Chicago Bulls were just barely coming into their own, as well. Then there was a team out of Detroit that was trying to rebuild with a young point guard named Isaiah Thomas and a pugnacious center named Bill Laimbeer. Yeah, them guys. My husband’s lip still curls when he says Laimbeer’s name. But then, we’re Lakers fans in this household, more or less.
The Pistons were a team that got known for very rough play, although according to the doc, it was as much about getting in the heads of Larry Bird and the other Celtics in order to win. In short, the team was not very popular. But what’s interesting about the doc is that not only is it told from the perspective of the players, it really focuses on the team’s struggle to get on top and stay there. Talk about perseverance – it took these guys from 1981 to 1989 to win their first NBA Championship and they did it again in 1990.
Safety-wise, of course, there are some mild issues with language and the occasional bleeped (but you know which one it was) word. The other issue might be the almost glorification of borderline dirty play. These guys were not above breaking the rules, such as fouling other players – Laimbeer famously took down Bird during one of their games. The film doesn’t apologize for the behavior, but they do note that it wasn’t particularly good. How you feel about that might depend on whether you’re from L.A., Boston or Chicago, or maybe not.
On the other hand, the film does praise perseverance and the idea that you don’t have to be liked to be effective.
It’s reasonably good, but it does drag a little here and there. But then, I’m not a big basketball fan and this was a team people loved to hate.