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    Glory Road [23]

    Expectation Reviews   
    I like sports movies where the underdog wins out. Hoosiers has to be one of the best in that genre. However, even Bad News Bears was not poor.

    Glory road is the story of the eventual 1966 NCAA Men's basketball champions, the Texas Western Miners. The starting five on the team were all black, which was a first for a team in the National championship game, as well as for a southern team. The 66 Miners were not the first team to have black players. Other colleges in other parts of the country had been using black players before the 1960s and were playing in NCAA championship games (e.g., Wilt Chamberlain at the Kansas, Elgin Baylor at Seattle and Bill Russell at the University of San Francisco); however, many southern schools did not have black players, and would refuse to play against schools that had a single black player on the roster.

    In fact, the previous NCAA basketball champions in 1965 and 1964, the UCLA Bruins, had black players. Walt Hazzard of UCLA was the tournament MVP and was also the college basketball player of the year in 1964. UCLA has a number of notable achievements in the area of racial equality in sports. Bruin player Don Barksdale was the first African American consensus All american basketball player in 1947. Jackie Robinson was a four sport letterman at UCLA before he broke the color barrier in Major League baseball.

    Before UCLA begain its rule, Loyola University of Chicago defeated Cincinnati in the 1963 NCAA championship game. Loyola started four African-Americans and Cincinnati started three. That was the first time that a majority of African-Americans participate in the championship game.

    Also in the year 1966, the NCAA basketball tournament was wide open. Everyone was aware that UCLA would be a powerhouse with the man who was predicted to be the greatest basketball player ever, Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).

    However, the South was not like the North or the West coast. Racism was prevalent and nasty. The championship matchup of all white Kentucky vs all black Texas Western was a media circus at the time.

    Adolph Rupp, played by Jon Voight, may or may not be portrayed as a racist. Rupp is the winningest basketball coach of all time. Rupp scheduled games against integrated teams since the 1950s, and tried to recruit African-American players (one of whom was Wes Unseld, who instead would play at the University of Louisville) as early as 1964. The loss of the all-white Kentucky Wildcats team in the 1966 NCAA finals to Texas Western, was long after the fact held out as a sign of change in the game. Most participants have publicly stated that nobody saw the game that way at the time. Although Pat Riley, a Kentucky star, talks about how important it was at the end of the movie. The Final Four that year also included another all-white team, Duke.

    Looking forward to seeing the movie. I liked the fact that band members from the school varsity bands were credited. {BB}

    Added: December 28th 2005
    Reviewer: BB
    29 Point Scale Score: 23    [23]

    Related Movie Link (IMDB): IMDB - Glory Road
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    Language: english

      

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