Back in 2016, ESPN released the 30 for 30 Short “No Kin to Me,” which told the story of LSU basketball star Rudy Macklin and the controversial comments that ignited a firestorm in 1981.
On March 30, John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate President Ronald Reagan. Three hours later, LSU and Virginia played in the third-place NCAA tournament game, which was one by the Cavaliers. Macklin, who is LSU’s all-time leading rebounder and second-leading scorer, didn’t score at all in the loss while dealing with an injured pinky finger on his shooting hand.
After the game, a reporter asked Macklin if the news of the assassination attempt affected the Tigers’ performance. Macklin responded with a resounding no, saying “If he was kin to me, I could understand.” When pressed further, he added, “He’s not kin to me, OK?” The backlash over the comments led to Macklin receiving harassing phone calls and threatening letters, to the point where he feared for his life.
While something of a forgotten moment in sports history to many, the whole controversy has a huge impact on Macklin’s life. In a way, he’s spent the years since trying to redeem his reputation over it. That all culminated in the short as Macklin saw his jersey retired at Pete Maravich Assembly Center during the 2009-10 season.
While the story had now been told, it apparently hadn’t been told to the fullest extent. ESPN has announced that they’ve procured additional archival footage and exclusive interviews and will be premiering a longer version of “No Kin to Me” as part of the SEC Storied slate of films. The updated doc will make its SEC Network debut on Monday, March 18 at 10 p.m. ET.
It’s an unusual step in the 30 for 30 family of films. But it also speaks to the power of the story as well as the natural fit the documentary has on the SEC Network. It also could be a test case for future programming like this, especially as ESPN expands its footprint with the ACC Network and eyes more ways to fill those broadcasting hours.