MM’s top five… best sports TV series

If you’ve not already stopped what you’re doing and settled down in front of the TV to watch the fascinating documentary The Last Dance on Netflix, then now’s the time.

Charting the rise of the 90s powerhouse basketball team Chicago Bulls – led by the iconic Michael Jordan – it centres mostly on the outfit’s last season together in 1997-98, as they chased a sixth NBA championship in eight years.

If basketball’s not your thing however, read on for other sports as we run you through our top five sports TV series…

5. Ballers

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson stars in this series as an ex-pro NFL player trying to get a new lease of life in sun kissed Miami by helping current players with their finances.

First aired on HBO in 2015, the series concluded late last year and puts a somewhat comedic slant on what American footballers do after they’ve stopped playing – in recent times a dark subject, covered well in the 2015 film Concussion.

Nominated for a stack of awards, Johnson’s humour brings the series together and for any viewers put off by sports shows being too much about sport, this could be the one for you.

4. Eastbound & Down

Producers Will Ferrell and Adam McKay naturally take this show to another place – something very different from the uplifting stories to be seen and heard in our top three.

Lead role Danny McBride stars as moronic former professional baseball player Kenny Powers, who post playing days takes up substitute gym teaching and, still with delusions of grandeur, is far from a success.

Another HBO series, which ran from 2009-2013, expect similar gags with Ferrell playing cameo roles. For anyone who’s seen The Other Guys which starred Ferrell and featured a cameo from Johnson, this has a similar feel.

3. The Test: A New Era for Australia’s Team

Ah the subtle shifts in momentum that make cricket so tense, so watchable. Amazon’s The Testa behind-the-scenes look at how Australian cricket was rebuilt after their darkest hour, is a must watch.

The 2018 sandpaper scandal ripped through the heart of the team with devastating effect – star batsman and captain Steve Smith, feisty opening bat David Warner and the up-and-coming Cameron Bancroft were all banned. The outpouring of emotion and criticism in the Australian media was relentless.

However they enter a new era led by former opening bat Justin Langer, and with new skipper Tim Paine finding his feet – and memorably sparring with Indian cricket god Virat Kohli – the show takes us all the way to the end of the 2019 Ashes series in England.

Moments of comedy – Adam Zampa’s unique coffee obsession – blend nicely with some edge-of-the-seat sporting moments as Australia’s cricketers show the world their good side.

2. The Last Dance

In some ways, this nostalgia overload series has many sports fans itching for the return of top level sport, notably the likes of basketball so people can start following games odds online on sites like 888 sports betting as competitions such as the NBA reach their traditional summer climax.

We’re not talking Michael Jordan-esque bets though – indeed, Jordan’s compulsive winning habit is discussed in this 10-part series on Netflix/ESPN but there’s much, much more to this production than just the famous no. 23.

Now everyone wants the voice of basketball legend Scottie Pippen, people want the personality of wildman Dennis Rodman, basketball goggles sales have likely gone up because of seeing the powerful Horace Grant on our screens again, while unsung hero Steve Kerr’s emotional story takes us all the way back to Lebanon in the 1980s and a family tragedy.

1. ESPN 30 for 30

Covering pretty much everything from Olympics to boxing, long distance running to NASCAR, when ESPN decided in 2007 to celebrate 30 years on air with their now iconic sports TV series 30 for 30 (commencing in 2009), not in their wildest dreams could they have foreseen such adulation.

The series is still running in the shape of Volume 4 and has also spawned podcasts, shorts and soccer stories. The less said the better frankly, get watching and get inspired!

Related Articles