During the coronavirus shutdown, each day we will bring you a recommendation from The Post’s Peter Botte for a sports movie, TV show or book that perhaps was before your time or somehow slipped between the cracks of your viewing/reading history.
O.J.: MADE IN AMERICA (2016)
Streaming: ESPN+, Amazon (Buy/rent)
Every now and then a subject is so layered, so weighty, and so significant, even ESPN’s acclaimed “30 for 30” documentary series can’t possibly tell the entire story in a single episode.
The 10-part event that debuted Sunday night about Michael Jordan, “The Last Dance,” was not the first to get such expanded treatment by the network and its vast array of stellar reporters and storytellers.
Four years earlier, ESPN offered a five-part, 7 ¹/₂-hour breakdown of former NFL running back O.J. Simpson’s rise from superstar athlete to beloved crossover pitchman and actor to his polarizing crash as a double-murder suspect (and his controversial acquittal) in the death of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman in 1994-95.
The film was brilliantly reported and presented, earning director Ezra Edelman and his co-producer Caroline Waterlow an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.
Edelman eventually signed on to the project after the 30 for 30 honchos wanted to greatly expand on the excellent “June 17, 1994” entry in the 30 for 30 series — featuring Simpson’s infamous Ford Bronco car chase, as well as the Rangers’ Stanley Cup parade and the Knicks in Game 5 of the NBA Finals, all on that date.
Through dozens of interviews with lawyers from both sides and people from various facets of Simpson’s life, however, Edelman doesn’t miss anything involving the explosive double-murder trial — covering his abusive relationship with Nicole, racial tensions in Los Angeles involving the LAPD and the multitude of mistakes made by the prosecution, resulting in his acquittal.
Tremendous detail also is provided about O.J.’s early and post-acquittal life, the wrongful-death civil suit brought by the Brown and Goldman families, and his eventual incarceration in 2007 on unrelated robbery and kidnapping charges involving sports memorabilia in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Simpson, now 72, was paroled by the state of Nevada in 2017, the year after the documentary was released, after serving nine years of a 33-year sentence.
Quote to Note: “O.J. killed her. I’m not on board.” — African-American LAPD officer and longtime Simpson acquaintance Ron Shipp, on what he told Simpson’s legal Dream Team when asked to be a defense witness.
Botte Blows: 4.75 of 5