Directed by Rory Karpf
The latest edition of the ESPN 30 for 30 shorts season is an Olympic one, bringing together the 1972 US Men’s basketball team for a bit of a reunion. Their’s is not a typical heartwarming reunion story. Director Rory Karpf has dreamed up a 12 Angry Men scenario, assembling these 12 men to bring them to a vote on the fate of the Olympic medals. A curiosity, their medals reside in a bank in Switzerland for the simple reason that they are Silver medals, not Gold. The United States had not lost an Olympic basketball game in its history until the Gold Medal game in 1972 against Cold War opponent the Soviet Union. The game was hotly contested and came down to a crazy finish. So crazy that still today it is in dispute by the American team, who claim, nay know, that they beat the Russians, and were denied their Gold Medals.
I am not quite sure what Rory Karpf was/is hoping to accomplish with this film. I am not sure what his intentions were when he dreamed up the idea of bringing these men together. We get them in a room, Rory is asking the most basic questions imaginable, and no new ground is covered by the interrogation. It is a bit insufferable to be in the room for this discussion and I really feel for the players. Karpf appears to have brought them together for this reunion that none of them really want to rehash, and ultimately, at the end when they vote whether to accept the silver medals (the vote has to be unanimous by the way) none of them vote yes. Whether Karpf was hoping to change this, or whether he was just trying to spread the story to more people who were not aware of it, perhaps in hopes of changing the past, he ultimately just makes a poor short film that contains nothing interesting in it.