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LSU's "Shaq & Dale" Documentary to Premiere Monday, April 13 on SEC Network

A new slate of ESPN Films' SEC Storied documentaries will be showcased on television in the next four weeks.

The series will premiere four documentaries on consecutive Mondays beginning April 13 on SEC Network. The new slate covers the lasting friendship between ex-LSU star Shaquille O’Neal and his former coach Dale Brown, assistant coach Bernadette Locke’s impact on the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball program in the early 1990s, Dominique Wilkins’ troubled transition from high school in North Carolina to the University of Georgia, and the 1985 Mississippi State Bulldogs baseball duo Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro, dubbed “Thunder and Lightning.”

The SEC Storied franchise, from the creators of the Peabody and Emmy Award-winning 30 for 30 series, focuses on the people, teams, moments and events that tell the ongoing story of the Southeastern Conference.

The documentaries will air on SEC Network as follows (all ET):

*Monday, April 13, at 9 p.m. – “Shaq & Dale”

(Also shown on ESPN Thursday, April 16 at 8 p.m.)

*Monday, April 20, at 9 p.m. – “Coach Bernie”

*Monday, April 27, at 9 p.m. – “Dominique Belongs to Us”

*Monday, May 4, at 9 p.m. – “Thunder and Lightning”

Here are the film summaries:

“Shaq & Dale” (Directed by Hannah Storm)

(The official trailer of this film is also shown below.)

“Shaq & Dale,” narrated by Louisiana native and music superstar Tim McGraw, follows former basketball great Shaquille O’Neal as he returns to LSU to visit with Dale Brown, the coach who helped make it all possible. The relationship between these two men goes back to the time when Shaq was 13 and living on an army base in Germany when he asked the coach for some exercise tips. Since that day, O’Neal has received at least one letter or email from Brown every week—and a lot more of them during their three years together in Baton Rouge. Back then, they might have seemed very different, but they forged a deep friendship that they cherish to this day.

“Coach Bernie” (Directed by Lisa Lax and Nancy Stern)

When Rick Pitino was hired to coach the Kentucky basketball team in 1989, the once-proud program was reeling from NCAA probation and the loss of scholarships. He needed to shake things up and give the players who stayed a fresh perspective. To help achieve this, in 1990 he hired Bernadette Locke, only the second female assistant coach in Division I men’s basketball history. A former star point guard with the University of Georgia, Locke brought knowledge, spirit and academic discipline to the Wildcats. In two years, Kentucky basketball returned to prominence and, though still undermanned by the loss of scholarships, the Wildcats made it all the way to the Elite 8 in 1992. As Pitino and her fellow assistants Billy Donovan and Tubby Smith attest, Coach Bernie made a difference.

“Dominique Belongs To Us” (Directed by Kenan K. Holley)

Before the basketball world came to know him as “The Human Highlight Film,” a teenage Dominique Wilkins quickly became the toast of his new hometown of Washington, North Carolina. The 6’8” basketball star led the Pam Pack to 56 straight victories and two state titles. But when he chose the University of Georgia over local ACC schools, the cheers turned to jeers and resentment twisted the high school highlights into a lowlight. That betrayal left ‘Nique distrustful of fans until a community of support in Georgia convinced him otherwise and paved the way for his return home.

“Thunder and Lightning” (Directed by Rory Karpf)

The best team never to win the College World Series? It might have been the 1985 Mississippi State Bulldogs, who produced four Major League Baseball All-Stars. Two of them, Bobby Thigpen and Jeff Brantley, became Relievers of the Year, while the other two, Will Clark and Rafael Palmeiro, formed the imposing one-two hitting punch known as “Thunder and Lightning.” The brash and bold Clark was born in New Orleans, the son of a pool hustler, while the soft-spoken and shy Palmeiro was a son of Cuban immigrants who did his talking at the plate. As teammates at Mississippi State, they nearly propelled the Bulldogs to a College World Series title. Thirty years later, director Rory Karpf revisits those fabled Bulldogs, tracks the complicated relationship between Clark and Palmeiro, and brings closure to men who should be remembered for what they did, and not for what they didn’t do.

ESPN Films launched the SEC Storied documentary series in September 2011, presenting fans the opportunity to explore the rich athletic history of the SEC. From extraordinary athletes and coaches to defining games and moments, the SEC Storied series features films that focus on the SEC’s recent and more distant past. In August, the franchise expanded its yearly slate two-fold with the launch of the SEC Network.

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