Your Phoenix Suns haven’t been very good lately. One of the few constants though is the presence of one of the very best training staffs in the entire NBA.
That elite group was featured in the latest ESPN 30 for 30 docu-series “Enhanced.”
Suns Vice President of Athlete Care Aaron Nelson and company are included in the six-part series that’s available on ESPN+. Each episode covers a particular topic and its impact on both professional and amateur athletes. The topics include:
SKILL – “Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, explores the push and pull of Nature versus Nurture in the development of elite athletes. Featured subjects include Portland Trail Blazers basketball player CJ McCollum and U.S. Olympic sprinter Natasha Hastings.”
ALGORITHM WARS – “Directed by Jesse Sweet, focuses on the data revolution that transformed baseball 10 years ago, and now has become a disrupting force in nearly every arena of professional sports. Featured subjects include Seattle Reign soccer stars Megan Rapinoe and Beverly Yanez, New York Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances, and Houston Rockets GM Daryl Morey.”
MIND GURUS – “Directed by Paul Taublieb explores the mind-blowing work that promises to evolve the brain into an athletic machine, focusing on the mental training techniques deployed by professional athletes to secure a competitive advantage. Featured subjects include professional beach volleyball player and three-time Olympic gold medalist Kerri Walsh Jennings, sports psychologist Michael Gervais, and Dutch extreme athlete Wim Hof.”
POWER – “Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi, delves into the pursuit of power, from the history of the crackdown on steroids to exploring controversial new technologies that threaten to change the record books, and the entire landscape of sports forever. Featured subjects include Jeff Novitzky, Vice President of Athlete Health and Performance for the UFC, bodybuilder Ryan Russo, and former powerlifter Tony Fitton.”
ENDURANCE – “Directed by Paul Taublieb, asks what are the limits of endurance in the human body? One man, Yannis Pistiladis, the mad scientist of distance running, is determined to find out. Featuring gold medalist Kenenisa Bekele and Olympic marathon gold medalist and Kenyan distance runner Eliud Kipchoge.”
RECOVERY – “Directed by Alison Klayman, takes a look at the medical advances in recovery and the ethical issues surrounding the topic, asking if we are any closer to “cheating” recovery. Notables featured include Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, Phoenix Suns basketball players Devin Booker and Jared Dudley, Brazilian Olympic gymnast Lais Souza, and former NFL player Jeff Novak.”
Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney, who is responsible for the 30 for 30 feature “Catching Hell” centered on infamous Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman, was an executive producer on the project.
“I’ve always been fascinated with the will to win – often at any cost – as well as the scientific and ethical issues surrounding the attempts to push the body beyond natural limits,” said Gibney. “But in Enhanced, there was also an opportunity to look beyond doping and changing the contours of the body to attempts to change the architecture of the mind in order to increase performance. Ever since Catching Hell, I have been talking to Libby, Connor (Schell) and the folks at ESPN Films about doing something on this. And since the beginning of The Armstrong Lie, Dan Coyle and I have been getting together for beers (the original enhancement drug at the Tour de France) to bat around these ideas. I’m delighted that ESPN gave me and the team the opportunity to explore.”