THIS MOVIE ABOUT THE FIRST COLLEGE TO BREAK THE RACIAL QUOTA SYSTEM AND ALLOW FIVE BLACK PLAYERS ON THE FLOOR AT THE SAME TIME HAS PERSONAL CONNECTIONS FOR ME:
NEVIL SHED, ONE OF THE KEY MEMBERS OF THE TEXAS WESTERN TEAM, PLAYED FOR MORRIS HIGH SCHOOL OF THE BRONX AND BEAT WINGATE HIGH AT MADISON SQUARE GARDEN IN A 1961 PLAYOFF GAME.
MY FRIEND AND BROOKLYN PHENOMENON FROM WINGATE HIGH,
SAM "KNOTS" SAMUEL, ATTENDED TEXAS WESTERN, BUT HAD THE MISFORTUNE TO BE ON THE SAME TEAM WITH THE GREAT NATE "TINY" ARCHIBALD -- PLAYING THE SAME POSITION AS TINY, LIMITS YOUR PLAYING TIME, NO MATTER HOW GOOD A GUARD YOU MIGHT BE.
WHILE I WAS IN HIGH SCHOOL, OUR TEAM MANAGER VOICED THE OPINION, BEFORE THE START OF THE 1962 SEASON, THAT WINGATE WOULD NEVER START FIVE BLACK PLAYERS.
COACH HOWARD ROSENSTEIN, IMMEDIATELY ADDRESSED THE ISSUE AND STATED THAT HE WOULD START THE FIVE PLAYERS WHO GAVE THE TEAM THE BEST CHANCE TO WIN THE GAME. THIS IS BASICALLY THE SAME ANSWER COACH DON HASKINS, GIVES IN THE FILM. ALTHOUGH, COACH HASKINS, ALSO HAS A POLITICAL / SOCIAL AGENDA, ONCE HE
SAW THE IMPACT OF RACISM ON HE PLAYERS, BOTH BLACK AND WHITE. HE BECOMES A CRUSADER, AS MUCH AS A COACH, AS THE SEASON MARCHES ON TO THE CHAMPIONSHIP GAME.
THIS IS A SPORTS FILM AND ALL SPORTS FILMS HAVE THEIR LIMITATIONS - BUT THIS ONE IS ALSO A TRUE STORY, WHICH I WATCHED UNFOLD ON TELEVISION AND IN THE PAPERS DURING THAT DRAMATIC 1966 SEASON. THAT ADDS TO THE IMPACT OF THE MOVIE.
THE BLACK FOLKS IN THIS FILM ARE PORTRAYED AS REAL PEOPLE - THERE IS NONE OF THAT MINSTREL SHOW TYPE JIVE TALKING AND EXAGGERATED ACTING.
THE MOVIE TRIES TO MAKE KENTUCKY COACH ADOLPH RUPP, OUT TO BE THE VILLAIN - BUT THAT IS CONTRIVED. THE VILLAIN IS THE TIME / THE ERA / THE SOCIAL UNREST / CHANGE ITSELF --- NOT A COLLEGE BASKETBALL COACH.
THE FILM IS WELL EDITED AND NO SCENE IS ALLOWED TO "GO BAD." SCENES END BEFORE THEY COULD SLOW THE STORY DOWN. ISSUES ARE TOUCHED ON, BUT NOT LINGERED ON.
THERE IS A FIVE SECOND CAMEO APPEARANCE BY COACH HASKINS - HE IS THE ESSO GAS STATION ATTENDANT.
I ENJOYED THIS MOVIE AND IF YOU GIVE IT A CHANCE, YOU SHOULD ENJOY IT TOO.
My problem with Glory Road lies in its historical inaccuracies. The film gives you the impression that Haskins went around the country trolling through the playgrounds to find ballplayers, and that he accomplished this within one year.
In fact, as you pointed out in the case of Nevil Shed, all of those players were rather well known high school players in there respective cities. The thing that disturbed me most about the film was its failure to pay homage to the black players that preceded that team in paving the way for players in that conference and at Texas Western.
Haskins had been coaching for at least five or six years before those events unfolded. He had outstanding players such as Nolan Richardson, the former coach at Arkansas, and my dear friend Jim" Bad News" Barnes.
"News" was an All American, a leader of the 1964 U S Olympic team in Tokyo, and the number one draft choice of the Knicks, for whom he averaged 15 points a game in his rookie year. Additionally, In either "News" junior or senior year Texas Western finished third in the NCAA tournament. These guys, and others, made it palatable for the players on the 1966 team to go play at Texas Western. I am sure the New York connection to that team played a role in Tiny Archibald, future N.B.A. ALL STAR, eventually enrolling there.
Other than that, for a hollywood version of a story, it was not bad.
HAVE YOU FORGOTTEN ABOUT THE HARLEM RENS? WHO WON 2 OR 3 WORLD BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS!!
THE GLOBETROTTERS ALSO WON A TITLE OR TWO. THEY ARE ALSO RESPONSIBLE FOR THE WORLD WIDE POPULARITY OF THE GAME.
DENNIS J. WATSON