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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

'Two Escobars' on tonight

It seems like I've been gushing about ESPN's "The Two Escobars" for many weeks now, because I have. Here is my newspaper item from Friday on that subject.

Well, after this post you don't have to read about it from me anymore because Tuesday night you can see it for yourself.

The story - mostly in Spanish with easy-to-read English subtitles - concerns the influence the drug trade had on Colombian soccer in the early 1990s and the intersecting lives of soccer star Andres Escobar and drug baron Pablo Escobar.

Filmmakers Jeff and Michael Zimbalist said even as they portrayed the dysfunctional mess of a nation Colombia was in that era, they hoped to convey the fundamental beauty of the land and its people behind the chaos.

They do, to a point, but it still is remarkable just how fouled up Colombia was, thanks largely to demand from drug users in the United States. 

The filmmakers said that as much explosive material as they included, far more was left out - or in some cases never asked - to protect their subjects' lives, even all these years later.

"There are certain subjects you're not supposed to talk about," Jeff said.

Mike said they used 46 different archival sources in making the film, much of which had not been seen publicly before, including remarkable footage of the Colombian national team playing a pickup game with Pablo Escobar in his "prison."

Jeff said the brothers - whose father, Andrew, is an oft-quoted Smith College economics professor with an expertise in sports business - have a "love affair" with the country and its people.

"We felt a responsibility to not just extend the negative stereotype of Colombia," he said, adding of Andres Escobar he "lives on in Colombia as a symbol of a rising Colombia."

A strange-but-true illustration of how fascinated I became with this film during the Tribeca Film Festival in April:

I spent 30 minutes talking to Mike about it at an after party while Jessica Alba sat not 3 feet away from us.

Whether or not you find Ms. Alba sitting in your living room this evening, do consider watching "The Two Escobars."

Tags: ESPN , soccer

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