— Donnie Wahlberg (@DonnieWahlberg) June 2, 2017
Actor, singer, songwriter, producer, and proud Bostonian Donnie Wahlberg lends his voice to ESPN’s “Celtics/Lakers: Best of Enemies,” a five-hour 30 for 30 film event that chronicles the epic clashes between these storied franchises and relives the Boston-LA rivalry from both sides.
The three-part documentary, directed by Jim Podhoretz and executive produced by Jonathan Hock, will premiere with Parts 1 and 2 back-to-back tonight at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN. Part 3 airs Wednesday, June 14, at 8 p.m. on ESPN.
Wahlberg, who voices the Boston perspective in the documentary — while rapper and actor Ice Cube narrates the LA portions, spoke with Front Row about his role in this 30 for 30 and why the project was so meaningful to him.
What does it mean to you to be able to narrate this project?
When I was asked to narrate this, it was by [former college basketball star] Chris Herren, the subject of a previous [ESPN Films documentary, “Unguarded”]. I couldn’t even believe that I was being asked. I felt so honored to be a part of this. As a lifelong Celtics fan, it is so surreal to be narrating such an epic telling of this rivalry. It was so profound and powerful. I had a [New Kids on the Block] concert the night before and one that same evening [at the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles], but I was committed to doing this even if I had no voice. And when I sat down to narrate the film, I was a like a kid in a candy store. I literally had goosebumps the whole time.
What’s your favorite memory from the rivalry?
The 1984 victory parade in Boston. The floats passed right by my high school, so we skipped class to high-five the guys on their floats. Looking back, it was such a special time in sports history. I just don’t think we’ll see anything like it again.
What are your favorite 30 for 30 films?
My personal favorite 30 for 30 was “Catholics vs Convicts,” but I have them DVR’d so I’ve seen pretty much every one of them. I got my wife [actress] Jenny [McCarthy] hooked on them now. We also love “One and Not Done.” I’m a huge fan of Coach Cal [Kentucky men’s basketball coach John Calipari].
Jennifer Cingari Christie contributed to this post.
EDITOR’S NOTE: Watch an exclusive clip from “Celtics-Lakers: Best Of Enemies” in the screen at the top of the post. It concerns the conditions of the Boston Garden during Game 5 of the 1984 NBA Finals. Game-time temperature was 97 degrees. Below is the trailer for the 30 for 30 series, airing in three parts over two nights on ESPN.