Mora’s Top Five Sports Documentaries


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By Sammy Mora, Sports Editor


Even when sports weren’t going on, sports programming was still happening. I took to watching documentaries and docuseries to not only pass the time, but also to get my sports fix. And I watched quite a few programs during this time. While some were very captivating and interesting, others fell short in my opinion. 

But there were five shows that changed the way I saw things in the sports world. 

Here are my top five sports documentaries I’ve watched since quarantine started. 

5. Cheer

Where to watch: Netflix 

I was adamant at first to watch this show when it came out at the beginning of the year, but once I started the docuseries about Navarro College and their cheer team, I fell in love with these athletes and all their experiences. This docuseries sheds light on the sport that I didn’t expect to see. For some kids in this show, cheer was the way they got out of a bad home or personal situation, and it saved them. I have friends who have done cheer before, but seeing how much these people really put into this and how much their bodies go through really made me appreciate the sport more. And how could you not fall in love with Jerry and his enthusiasm for his teammates and their performances? 

I really hope we get a season 2, especially after the competitive season was canceled due to COVID.


4. The Last Dance

Where to watch: Netflix 

If you know me, you know I have been a Chicago Bulls fan since I was a little kid. Mainly because my dad loved the team, but I was also always drawn to them more than any other team. So when The Last Dance was announced, I knew I would be watching the series about one of the greatest basketball players of all time. I was so drawn in by the story of how Michael Jordan and the Bulls were able to pull off two, three-peats while dealing with all the outside distractions and drama from the front office to the players’ personal lives. It was so interesting to see how the historic team made their run.


3. Athlete A

Where to watch: Netflix

Gymnastics is one of my favorite sports of all time, so when I saw the trailer for the documentary that shines a light on USA Gymnastics and the Larry Nassar scandal I knew I would have to watch it. While it was very hard to watch at times given the subject matter, it was also very powerful. The team at the Indianapolis Star were the ones who blew the lid off on the story and watching how they went about finding sources and how willing the survivors were to speak out to be able to make sure that Nassar and the organization were held accountable was very moving. While this story is one that hasn’t fully ended, the documentary shows that some of those involved — including Athlete A herself, Maggie Nichols, have started to heal from the situation and move on with their lives.   


2. Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez

Where to watch: Netflix 

I am a sucker for anything true crime — podcast, TV show, movie — you name it, I’ll look into it. The Aaron Hernandez story is something that I’ve always been drawn to. I had heard the rumors of things he did in college and wanted to learn more about him and what led him down the path he ended up taking. Just like the show that takes my No. 1 spot. Once I started the first of three episodes, I couldn’t stop. This series did a fantastic job of showing his life from all sides. From his time under Urban Meyer at Florida to his rocky relationship with his father, this series is one of the best sports-related documentaries I’ve seen. 


1. Shut Up and Dribble 

Where to watch: Showtime

This series had me enthralled from the opening moments. The LeBron James produced series takes viewers through the history of African American basketball players and how they have always pushed back on social and political norms. From Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to Allen Iverson, the series shows how these athletes have more of a responsibility than to ‘Shut up and dribble’ as Laura Ingraham told James and Kevin Durant addressed the state of the United States in an interview. This documentary packs even more of a punch with the Black Lives Matter movement re-emergence in the last few months. This is a must-watch-documentary for any sports fan, whether or not you like the sport of basketball. 


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