Watch ‘The Announcement’ on ESPN This Sunday

Even if you are not a sports fan and you know ESPN as little more then hyper-active montages playing above the bars you frequent, you should pay attention to ESPN Films. To celebrate the 24-hour sports network’s 30 years of survival and prosperity in 2009, ESPN.com and current Grantland oracle Bill Simmons convinced the ESPN head honchos to produce 30 documentaries about the great, layered sports stories that had occurred during the network’s lifetime and would probably otherwise be forgotten. The result was the renaissance of the sports documentary, 30 incredible real-life stories that, one could reasonably argue, sewed the cultural seeds for a non-fiction sports film like Undefeated to win this year’s Academy Award for Best Documentary. There are, of course, more then 30 sports stories worthy of being documented and this Sunday’s premiere of The Announcement, an emotional portrait of Magic Johnson before and after announcing he was HIV-positive in 1991, is certainly one of them.

I was a newly minted nine year old when this event actually occurred, and I had heard Magic Johnson was one of the greatest basketball players ever, according to my father and his friends. However, I grew up knowing him in a completely different light—first as a tragic victim of an awful disease, then as proof that HIV was not a death sentence but rather a new way to live and currently as an elder statesman, first for the ongoing fight against AIDS and second for the great game of basketball (and—in full disclosure that did not effect this review—a masterful businessman, who partially owns this publication). As The Announcement proves, some the most important tales of our time are sports stories, even if they aren’t really about sports at all. Keep tissue on-hand, as this will be a welcome reprise from what is known as March Madness.

Take a look at the trailer for The Announcement below:

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