Count me among the fans of HBO's Duke-Carolina basketball documentary, which makes its debut tonight (Monday, Feb.23) at 9 p.m. on HBO and will be shown numerous times after that for the next month. Click here for more listings and info from the network.
We've already reviewed the show -- twice! -- in The Observer, with both Langston Wertz and TV critic Mark Washburn weighing in with extremely positive reviews.
I'll give you my 2 cents worth but first, a full disclosure: I'm in the 60-minute show for maybe 45 seconds or so, talking about Charlie Scott and a couple of other subjects germane to the rivalry. The show's producer, award-winning documentary filmmaker George Roy, asked me to be on the show due to my newspaper work for The Charlotte Observer on UNC-Duke and the fact that I've written a couple of books on the history of UNC basketball. My part is very brief and I always think I look silly on TV, so I will wager you're not going to enjoy those 45 seconds very much.
That said, though, the rest of the film is excellent. Several people I've talked to who have seen advance copies agree that the footage of Larry Brown and Art Heyman involved in the famous UNC-Duke on-court brawl from the early 1960s is something few people have seen before. The "8-point-in-17-seconds" UNC comeback is another highlight treasure trove. I particularly enjoyed the comments from Mike Krzyzewski, Michael Jordan, J.J. Redick, Eric Montross and Jay Bilas -- they all had some uncommon insight into the rivalry.
A couple of quibbles? Sure. The documentary could have been longer -- two hours instead of one, easily, or at least 90 minutes rather than 60. Sometimes it's unclear who is speaking and what their relation is to the schools, particularly when fans are interviewed. The most recent 10 years of the rivalry doesn't get much play. Overall, though, HBO did a superb job with this, and it's well worth an hour of your time.
2 months ago