The HBO Sports documentary group presented three new high-profile films in 2010:
MAGIC & BIRD: A COURTSHIP OF RIVALS – March 6
BROAD STREET BULLIES – May 4
LOMBARDI – Dec. 11
The reality series “HARD KNOCKS” returned for its sixth installment with HARD KNOCKS: TRAINING CAMP WITH THE NEW YORK JETS – over five episodes viewers were given an all-access look at what it takes to make it in the National Football League and how Rex Ryan prepared his team. The show was a hit; becoming perhaps the hottest sports media topic in the month of August. The HBO audience averaged 4.6 million viewers a week ( a 35% percent increase from 2009), making the series with the Jets the most popular Hard Knocks edition since 2002 (Dallas Cowboys).
2010 also saw HBO Sports’ Emmy-Award-winning reality series 24/7 expand beyond the ring.
In January of 2010, HBO presented “24/7 JIMMIE JOHNSON: RACE TO DAYTONA,” a compelling look at the reigning NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. And in December, HBO ventures into pro hockey with the four-part series “24/7 PENGUINS/CAPTIALS: ROAD TO THE NHL WINTER CLASSIC.”
Highlights of BROAD STREET BULLIES:
The Flyers’ Bob Kelly, nicknamed “Machine Gun Kelly”: “I always had a lot of energy, so I like to expand it, and there’s nothing like driving somebody’s head through the boards to make you feel good.”
Former Flyer Bill Clement: “We were just ultimate fighters without the cage around us.”
Highlights from MAGIC & BIRD: A COURTSHIP OF RIVALS:
HBO Sports’ Bryant Gumbel: “One of my pet peeves always is when people say, ‘Oh, Michael Jordan saved the NBA.’ Bullshit. ‘Magic’ and Larry saved the NBA.”
Larry Bird: “They talk about it every day somewhere. If I go to a foreign country, it’s ‘ “Magic”, where’s “Magic?” ’ It’s the same everywhere…We got this connection that’s never gonna be broken. I mean, right to our graves. They’ll be talking about this a hundred years from now.”
BRYANT GUMBEL CLOSING COMMENTARY
REAL SPORTS WITH BRYANT GUMBEL
“Finally tonight, a few words about championship rings. Just when did they become the all-important barometer of who does or doesn’t count in sports? When did they supersede personal excellence or exemplary character as a standard of greatness?
I got to thinking about that the other night after the self-anointed chosen one, LeBron James, embarrassed himself as he tried to make his decision to seek rings in Miami sound like a search for the Holy Grail. It’s when he essentially admitted to placing a higher priority on winning than anything else.
LeBron’s decision is typical of our immediate gratification era, but it flies in the face of history. Even though he never won a title, Dan Marino is still the biggest hero in Florida. And in Boston, all those Celtics championships are dimmed by the unforgettable brilliance of Ted Williams, who never won anything. In Chicago, Gale Sayers and Dick Butkus have legendary status despite playing on losing teams. And even in the NBA, where guys seem obsessed with being viewed as ‘the man’, real men like Barkley, Ewing and Baylor are ringless, but revered.
Despite such evidence to the contrary, LeBron James seems to think he needs a ring to change his life and secure his legacy. Maybe he’ll get one, maybe he won’t, but it’s probable that no amount of rings will ever remove the stench he wallowed in last week. LeBron may yet find that in the court of public opinion, just as putting on a tux can’t make a guy a gentleman, winning a ring can’t make one truly a champion.”