30 for 30 Short Documentary Highlights Harlem Globetrotters Trip to Soviet Union During the Cold War

Team arrives at Vnukovo Airport.

ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series continues today with “From Harlem With Love,” which tells the story of the Harlem Globetrotters and their historic trip to the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

The documentary premiered on Grantland: HERE

In 1959, with the Cold War still raging on, tensions between the United States and the USSR were at an all-time high. Despite the threat of nuclear war hanging in the balance and amidst intense psychological warfare, the unlikeliest of heroes stepped forward. They weren’t in a warzone or at the negotiating table, but on a basketball court. “From Harlem With Love,” directed by Matt Ogens, is the extraordinary tale of when the Harlem Globetrotters played in the heart of the Soviet Union during a time of unrest, even drawing Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev to greet the players.

Matt Ogens is an accomplished filmmaker whose recent documentary, “Confessions of a Superhero,” gained a cult-like following after screenings at the prestigious SXSW and AFI film festivals, and it went on to enjoy a successful theatrical release under the Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me) production banner. The film aired on The Sundance Channel and is one of the most-watched documentaries on Netflix, Hulu, and Snag Films.

ESPN Films’ 30 for 30 Shorts series is artfully crafted by Blue Moon. Previous films from the series can be viewed on Grantland.com.