Blogs > Burney's Bytes

Burney's Bytes will focus primarily on the local preps sports scene, but will also touch on some college and pro athletics, mostly in regards to athletes who hail and have played high school sports in Oakland County. My goal for the blog is to be conversational and anecdotal, a more relaxed and free formal take on high school athletics than you see in regular game day coverage.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Five For Fighting - 30 for 30

I am a huge fan of ESPN's 30 for 30 documentary series. Almost every episode produced has thoroughly enthralled me. As you might expect, some of my favorite episodes centered on stories that delved, in one way or the other, into the world of prep sports.
With that said, here is a Top 5 list of the best prep-related 30 for 30s so far:
1. The Fab 5 – A fascinating chronicling of the best college basketball recruiting class of all-time, with the class' crown jewel spawning from none other than Oakland County in future NBA all-star Chris Webber out of Birmingham Detroit Country Day. THERE WILL NEVER BE ANOTHER!!!!....Enough said
2. Allen Iverson ("No Crossover")  – The story of former NBA superstar Allen Iverson's trial for maming by mob during his high school days in Virginia. This charge stemmed from a racially-motivated Valentines' Day 1993 bowling alley brawl involving some 50 teenagers which ended in Iverson's conviction, sentencing to prison and eventual exoneration via the charges being thrown out by the state's governor in 1994. The fact that these events took place when Iverson was only 16 and the state of Virginia's top prep athlete - having just led his high school to state titles on both the football field and basketball court -, in my opinion, explains a great deal about the anti-establishment persona he would cultivate and thrive on during his playing years.
3. SMU ("Pony Excess") – An episode that showed the ridiculously outrageous recruiting practices of the Southern Methodist University football program in the late 1970s and early to mid-1980s, a period where the Mustangs were known in the headlines as "The Pony Express," and they routinely finished in the top-echelon of the national rankings. The aforementioned run of success by SMU was a result of possibly the dirtiest period of blatant pay-for-play antics in the annals of college athletics perpetrated by many in the program itself and a cadre of wealthy and connected boosters that actually put high school gridiron recruits – some which hailed from the Detroit area by the end of the Mustangs' reign – on an official payroll.
4. Marcus Dupree ("The Best That Never Was") – Dupree's tale is the story of arguably the most intense and chronicled recruitment of a high school football player ever. A man amongst boys as a prepster in rural Mississippi in the early 1980s, Dupree was a freight train of a running back that wound up at Oklahoma, putting up enormous numbers as a freshman before leaving the Sooners and going on to have a short pro career in the USFL and NFL. This kid's recruitment was so out-of-hand that several big-time schools had assistant coaches actually go down and live in Dupree's hometown during the fall of his senior year.
5. 1982 Little League World Series Champions ("Little Big Men") – A compelling story of the 1982 Kirkland, Washington little league baseball team that captured the nation's hearts by upsetting a squad from Taiwan in the championship game of the Little League World Series. The truly interesting part of this story is that even though a lot of the kids on the Kirkland team went on to have future athletic success (two of them played in the MLB with the SF Giants and a good portion of them played together on state championship football and baseball teams as high schoolers), some got burned out on the whirlwind experience and were negatively affected by all the publicity they received, specifically the team's star player.


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