Iconic Dunbar basketball team hits small screen with ESPN documentary Tuesday


Former Dunbar boys’ basketball coach Bob Wade is congratulated by former standout guard Tyrone “Muggsy” Bogues after the school named its basketball court after Wade in 2016. Wade, Bogues and the 1981-82 and 1982-83 Poet squads are the subject of an ESPN 30-for-30 documentary on Tuesday evening.

Any discussion about Baltimore high school boys’ basketball often starts with the 1982-83 Dunbar squad. The team, coached by Bob Wade and featuring four eventual NBA players, is considered the greatest boys’ prep basketball squad of all-time.

The Poets’ amazing journey, on and off the court, will be told Tuesday. The documentary “Baltimore Boys,” premieres at 8 p.m. on ESPN as part of the cable network’s popular “30 for 30” series.

Between 1981 and 1983, the Orleans Street school won 59 straight games, claiming the mythical national championship in the 1982-83 campaign. The Poets would’ve been No. 1 in the country in the 1981-82 season if not for Calvert Hall College, which went 34-0 and was selected No. 1 (Dunbar finished second).

The documentary focuses on Bogues, Reggie Williams, Reggie Lewis and David Wingate, who overcame poverty, drugs and crime that haunted the east Baltimore housing communities during the 70s and 80s to join the NBA (Lewis, Williams and Bogues were drafted in the first round of the 1987 NBA Draft), and Wade, a former professional football player who returned to his alma-mater and became a father figure to many of his players.

“The overall atmosphere around the team was one of family,” said Ali Danois, whose book “The Boys of Dunbar,” was released last fall and was a contributor on the ESPN project.

Sheldon Candis, a Baltimore native, co-directed “Baltimore Boys,” and Bobby Sabelhaus, a former prep All-American quarterback in the early 1990s at McDonogh School, is an executive producer.