10 Best Shows As They Call Me Magic

With the popular HBO series winning time telling a fictional story of his rise to stardom, Earvin “Magic” Johnson gets the chance to tell his side of the story in They call me magic. Highlighting the triumphs and tragedies of his fascinating life, the docuseries makes no effort to show the true side of the Magic Man.

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From acclaimed series like the last dance, current productions like ESPN’s 30 for 30, They call me magic is another in a long line of great sports documentary series. For viewers who couldn’t get enough basketball content, there’s always more to enjoy after watching They call me magic.

Bad Sport (2021–present)

Stream on Netflix

bad sport netflix

Sports tellers are hugely popular with fans, and it’s fascinating to see misunderstood personalities having their say. bad sports focuses each episode on a different moment in sports history that has been marred by scandal and crime.

Told from the perspective of athletes and law enforcement, the series gives serious weight to its subject matter. While it’s not the brightest time for fans, the dark side of their favorite sports often shines a light on the issues plaguing their respective leagues. Crafted with the same care found in call me magic and what Netflix puts in all their true crime series, bad sports exists as both a sports docuseries and a crime drama.

Top Class: The Life and Times of the Sierra Canyon Pioneers (2021–present)

Stream on IMDb TV

Members of the Sierra Canyon Trailblazers play basketball on the cover of Top Class

Underdog stories are a dime a dozen in sports, but it’s rare for a series to focus so narrowly on expected winners. first class follows the daily life of one of the nation’s most exclusive basketball programs and chronicles how star players deal with the added pressure of expectations.

Generally considered one of the best sports documentary series of all time, there is a lot of common humanity in the story. The show illustrates that the added pressure of expected success can often be a tougher hurdle to overcome than any opponent on the pitch.

Promised Land (2021–present)

Stream on Fubo TV

Ja Morant stands on a Promiseland basketball court

Many sports stories are told in retrospect and cast moments of glory into a future perspective, but Promised land was there from the start. Similar to call me magic, the series follows NBA player Ja Morant from the days before the draft until he was crowned NBA Rookie of the Year in 2020. The show is an intimate portrait of the man.

Being a sensational player has certainly helped the series be more interesting, but what really makes it shine is the closeness the viewer feels with Morant. It’s raw and emotional throughout, and like the heroes of a fictional film, the viewer actively roots themselves for success in the crushing world of the NBA.

Swagger (2021–present)

Stream to Apple TV+

A basketball player stands on the court and prepares to shoot from Swagger

Partially inspired by the life of NBA star Kevin Durant, bluster is a fictionalized look at what happens to young basketball players as they rise through the ranks. Following the lives of several AAU Tour players, bluster explores the mental tension caused by the expectation of grandeur.

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The show shines because it explores a topic that isn’t often discussed in the world of sports. Much has been said about professional and college players, but their route to these places is generally not explored. While that might seem to highlight the privileges that might come with their position, the show also shows that it can also be a huge burden.

The Playbook (2020)

Stream on Netflix

Coach Doc Rivers watches on the sidelines of The Playbook

Most sports media focuses on flashy star players or championship teams that have won it all. However, The game book turned the camera on one of the most underrated sports personalities, the coach. With each episode featuring a different coach from a different sport, The game book was as much about training philosophy as competition.

Each episode introduces a different character and they all bring something new to the discussion. Beneath each episode, however, is the overarching passion all coaches share for their respective games. While they may all approach things differently, in the end they are more similar than dissimilar.

30 for 30 (2009–present)

Stream on ESPN+

The ESPN 30 for 30 logo that looks like a ticket stub

With each new season delivering some of the show’s best episodes, ESPN’s ongoing series, 30 for 30, has been one of the most cohesive sports docuseries of all time. The show features individual sports documentaries that cover a range of topics from the most popular sports to niche communities within the sports fandom.

A large number of 30 for 30Documentaries shine a light on untold pieces of sports history, while some also chronicle some of the greatest moments. The reason the series is so appealing is that it serves something for everyone. Even non-sports fans can find an episode or two that piques their interest and has contributed to its success for so long.

Basketball or Nothing (2019–present)

Stream on Netflix

A basketball player walks past a line of Basketball or Nothing cheerleaders

While sports documentaries are all the rage, basketball or nothing found a way to add another unique addition to the genre. Following the lives of high school basketball players on a Navajo Nation reservation, the series takes a look at their lives on and off the court.

The indigenous community is woefully underrepresented in the world of sport, and basketball or nothing attempted to rectify this discrepancy. Besides being a gripping sports documentary series, it’s also a fascinating and sad look at the real-life struggles of many Indigenous communities across North America.

Last Chance U: Basketball (2021-Present)

Stream on Netflix


Like his hugely popular football series Last chance Uby Netflix Last Chance U: Basketball tells the story of athletes on the fringes of success. The show follows the life and times of several community college teams as they all strive for a career in their favorite sport.

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Many shows feature top athletes, but Last chance UThe gritty look of was both refreshing and heartbreaking. Although it is a documentary series, it also features taught drama that rivals even the best sports movies and is just as gripping as any piece of fiction. Viewers find themselves rooting for the subjects of the documentary as they attempt to go against nearly impossible odds.

The Last Dance (2020)

Stream on Netflix

Generally considered one of the best documentaries on Netflix, the last dance was an intensive look at a moment in basketball history. Following the final season of the legendary 1990s Chicago Bulls team led by Michael Jordan, the show has inspected the finer details of the end of a dynasty.

With its mix of behind-the-scenes footage and modern interviews, the last dance skillfully weaves its narrative across ten episodes. Leaving no detail aside, every aspect of those legendary years is examined under the microscope, and yet it never gets dull. This consistent quality is largely due to the staging, as well as the fascinating characters interviewed.

Winning time (2022–present)

Stream on HBO Max

Winning Time Episode 3 Jerry Buss Coaching Research Jerry Tarkanian

Bringing basketball royalty to life through re-enactments, winning time is an HBO period piece that revolves around the birth of one of sports’ greatest dynasties. The series follows Dr. Jerry Buss, an ambitious entrepreneur who buys the struggling Los Angeles Lakers franchise in hopes of turning it around. Buss’ whole plan hinges on the success of a young rookie named Magic Johnson, who enters the league with a world of expectations on his shoulders.

With its hyper stylized and comical tone, winning time brings the real story to life with a touch of exaggeration too. Featuring a stunning cast led by John C. Reilly, the show strikes the perfect balance between sports fan service and just being a brilliant television product. Even someone familiar with the story has a lot to appreciate about the unique way the writers twist the narrative in amusing directions.

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