Unless it’s tickets to a game, decent gifts for sports fans are few and far between – we’re all familiar with those horrid blooper reel and World Series highlights memorabilia DVDs sold at rock-bottom prices in the holidays as last-minute dad presents. ESPN’s epochal celebration of its first 30 years, however, is something different. The 15 films included here – many of which have already made the festival rounds – are a grab-bag of quality, punchy documentaries that range from the hilarious (Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. the New York Knicks) to the surprisingly heartrending (Barry Levinson’s The Band That Wouldn’t Die, about the Baltimore Colts’ marching band).
Not only is this a smart present for just about any serious sports polymath, it doesn’t insult their intelligence like a John Madden beer koozie. And it’s only the first set, so if they like it, that’s next year’s gift nearly wrapped up and ready to go, too.