Road" tells the inspiring true story of the underdog Texas Western
basketball team, with history's first all African American starting lineup
of players, who took the country by storm, surprisingly winning the 1966
NCAA tournament title. Josh Lucas stars as Hall of Famer Don Haskins, the
passionately dedicated college basketball coach that changed the history of
basketball with his team's victory in this time of innocence.
Kevin McNeill's Review
Glory Road: The True Story
Recreating The Game That Changed
Official Glory Road Site
A good plot usually
consists of three things: heroes, underdogs, and happy endings. Glory Road
has all that and more. It also happens to tell an important story.
As you may know, it is
the story of a school that took a chance on an unheralded high school girls’
basketball coach, who in turn led them to the title and himself to the
Basketball Hall of Fame. It is the story of players that no one
recruited, and a team no one believed in, that came together as a team to
roll to a near perfect record and a national championship over top-ranked
and perennial-powerhouse Kentucky. More to the point, it was the first
time in history that the starting five of a championship team was black, and
it just so happened that Kentucky’s starting lineup - like every other
school in the south – was white.
The national championship
run of the 1966 Texas Western (now UTEP) Miners came right in the midst of
the nation’s civil rights movement, and has since been an important part of
the national conversation dealing with the impact of sports on race and
culture in America.
Of course, the movie
should not be viewed purely as a historical document. This is, after all,
Hollywood, and a few things should be cleared up.
Don Haskins was not in
his first year as coach in 1966, as the movie claimed, he was in his sixth
when he won the championship. Nor were the groundbreaking seven recruits
all freshmen. In fact, Coach Haskins was not even the first Miner coach to
recruit black players: there were already three African Americans on the
roster when he got there. One of which, Nolan Richardson, would go on to
become a national championship coach himself, with Arkansas in 1994.
Evidence of more creative
licenses abound throughout the film. Tina Malichi claims she did not meet
her future husband, Bobby Jo Hill, in a dive bar in Mexico. By nearly all
accounts, there was not the sea of Confederate flags being waved in the
stands during the national championship that is portrayed in the movie. And
while the movie claims that the Miners 72-65 win over the Wildcats was “the
greatest upset in college basketball history,” Texas Western entered the
tournament with only one loss and ranked #3 in the nation.
This is Disney, not a
documentary. However, the movie, based on Haskins’ autobiography of
the same name, has once again reignited the debate..
Read the Rest of Kevin McNeill's Review