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Sports Documentaries We’d Like to See

Much of the sports world is still buzzing over ESPN’s 10-part docu-series, “The Last Dance,” which offered never-before-seen footage and details about Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls’ final championship run. Naturally, the commercial and artistic success of the series has people wondering, “What documentary or docu-series can they do next?” We have some ideas of our own, but we’re going to focus on Hawaii-related topics that we want to see. Here are ten suggestions:

♦ “12-1” – This docu-series would detail the University of Hawaii football program’s amazing 2007 season, which saw the Rainbow Warriors go undefeated in the regular season, win the WAC title and meet the Georgia Bulldogs in the BCS Sugar Bowl. The series would also dig into the Sugar Bowl aftermath and the departures of head coach June Jones and athletic director Herman Frazier. Featuring interviews with June Jones, Herman Frazier, Colt Brennan, Davone Bess, Jason Rivers, Ryan Grice-Mullen, Rocky Savaiigaea, Solomon Elimimian, Adam Leonard, Blaze Soares, Stephen Tsai, Bobby Curran and Rich Miano. Narrated by Robert Kekaula.

♦ “SIMPLY FABULOUS” – A chronicling of the UH basketball program’s “Fabulous Five” teams in the early 1970s: how head coach Ephraim “Red” Rocha put the team together, how the players were treated like rock stars, the sold-out crowds at the old HIC (now the Neal Blaisdell Center). Featuring interviews with Bob Nash, Dwight Holiday, Al Davis, John Penebacker, Jerome Freeman and Artie Wilson. Narrated by Joe Moore.

♦ “SHOJI” – A retrospective of the storied coaching career of Dave Shoji, who led the Rainbow Wahine volleyball program to four national championships and more than 1,000 wins. Featuring interviews with Dave Shoji, Mary Shoji, Robyn Ah Mow, Deitre Collins, Diane Sebastian, Nahaku Brown, Lisa Strand-Ma‘a, Suzanne Eagye, Tita Ahuna, Lily Kahumoku, Kanoe Kamana‘o, Charlie Wade, Angelica Ljungqvist and Norene Iosia. Narrated by Kawika and Erik Shoji.

♦ “CATCH A WAVE” – This documentary would celebrate the long and storied history of surfing, from its origin in early-day Hawaii to its growth across the world. A good portion of the show would focus on Duke Kahanamoku, the sport’s greatest ambassador. It would also spotlight local surf legends and champions such as Fred Hemmings, Gerry Lopez, Rell Sunn, Andy Irons, Sunny Garcia and Bethany Hamilton. Narrated by Carissa Moore.

♦ “RISE OF THE RAINBOW WARRIORS” – A documentary on the Dick Tomey era of Rainbow Warrior football, based on Tomey’s book, “Rise of the Rainbow Warriors: Ten Unforgettable Years of University of Hawaii Football.” Segments would include Tomey’s hiring, his first year at UH, playing the big-name opponents, and his techniques and philosophies as a head coach. Featuring interviews with Blaine Gaison, Jesse Sapolu, Gary Allen Jeff Duva, Larry Goeas, Rich Miano, Niko Noga, David Toloumu, Tom Tuinei, Richard Higa, Dino Babers, Kenny Niumatalolo, Jim Leahey, George Lumpkin and Bob Wagner. Narrated by Rich Tomey.

♦ “GAIJIN” – A documentary about Hawaii’s proud contributions to Japan’s ancient sport of sumo. The story would begin with a young Maui boy named Jesse Kuhaulua, who gave up football to make his mark in sumo. As Takamiyama, he would become the first foreign-born sumotori to attain the rank of ōzeki (champion). The documentary would then shift to Saleva‘a Atisanoe (Konishiki), Fiamalu Penitani (Musashimaru) and Chad Rowan (Akebono), who followed Kuhaulua’s footsteps and achieved even greater heights in the sport, with Rowan becoming the first foreign-born yokozuna (grand champion). Narrated by Joanne Ninomiya, founder of JN Productions.

♦ “1980” – A recounting of the UH baseball team’s first and only appearance in the College World Series. Included would be highlights and memories of the WAC championship, the team’s run through the Regionals, the World Series games and more. Featuring interviews with Chuck Crim, Greg Oniate, Thad Reece, Collin Tanabe, Howard Dashefsky and others. Narrated by Don Robbs.

♦ “THE DYNASTY” – An in-depth look at the dominance of Saint Louis Crusader football and the program’s 21 state titles. Featuring interviews with Cal Lee, Ron Lee, Darnell Arceneaux, Olin Kreutz, Chris Fuamatu-Ma‘afala, Jason Rivers, Marcus Mariota, Tua Tagovailoa and Walter Kirimitsu. Narrated by Glenn Medeiros.

♦ “GENERATIONS” – A documentary profiling three generations of Leaheys – Chuck, Jim and Kanoa – each who excelled as preeminent play-by-play voices of Hawaii sports. Featuring interviews with Jim Leahey, Kanoa Leahey, Bobby Curran, Josh Pacheco, Larry Beil, Don Robbs, Scott Robbs, Pal Eldredge, Rick Blangiardi and others. Narrated by Rob DeMello.

♦ “THE UPSET” – A detailed look at college basketball’s greatest upset, including a “Where are They Now?” segment. Featuring interviews with Tony Randolph, Ralph Sampson, Mark Rodrigues, Richard Haenisch, Merv Lopes and others. Narrated by ESPN’s Michael Wilbon (who attended the game for the Washington Post).

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