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GLORY ROAD: THE MOVIE

Columnists | Message Board  | Basketball Movies

"Glory 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 History

 

Official Glory Road Site

 

 

Review

 

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Of course, the movie should not be viewed purely as a historical document.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

 

 

 

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