ESPN producing '30 for 30' on 1996 USA women's basketball team

Liz Roscher
·2-min read

ESPN has set its sights on the next topic for its ongoing series of "30 for 30" documentaries: the 1996 USA women's basketball team. 

According to Deadline, ESPN is devoting a "30 for 30" feature to the Women's Dream Team, which will take viewers through the 15 months leading up to their phenomenal run for the gold medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The feature will reportedly be directed by "30 for 30" alum Kristen Lappas, who directed "Al Davis vs. The NFL," "Long Gone Summer," and "Blackfeet Boxing." 

1996 team vital to history of women's basketball

The 1996 team, coached by Tara VanDerveer and featuring legendary players like Rebecca Lobo, Dawn Staley, Sheryl Swoopes, and Lisa Leslie, helped launch women's basketball on a national stage just months after the WNBA was officially formed. Tasked with reclaiming the gold medal after the Unified Team took it in 1992, their story is vital to the history of women's basketball in the US.

Their journey to the gold medal stand wasn't easy. After winning the bronze in 1992, the women's basketball program underwent a complete training overhaul, which required dedication and sacrifice from the players. The goal was for the 11-member team to play together cohesively, so they played more than 50 games over the 10 months leading up to the Olympics.

It worked. The team rolled through their competition at the Olympics, taking the gold and setting the stage for the WNBA's first season in 1997. 

The film will reportedly include behind-the-scenes footage taken by the NBA, and will feature team members Ruthie Bolton, Nikki McCray, Jennifer Azzi, Katy Steding, Teresa Edwards, Carla McGhee, as well as Lobo, Swoopes, and VanDerveer. The premiere is set for sometime in 2022, which couldn't be a more perfect year: it marks the 25th anniversary of the WNBA's first season and the 50th anniversary of Title IX.

4 Aug 1996:  Lisa Leslie of the USA stands as the Anthem is played after winning the Women''s basketball Finals during the 1996 Olympic Games in the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. The USA Women''s Team defeated the Brazilian Women''s Team 111-87. Mandatory Credit: Rick Stewart  /Allsport
The 1996 USA women's basketball team is getting the "30 for 30" treatment at ESPN. (Rick Stewart/Allsport)

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