GLORY ROAD is about more than a college basketball team in the mid-1960s playing its way to the championship: it is the true story of a coach and his team taking a stand against discrimination in order to play their best game. As the new men's basketball coach at Texas Western, Don Haskins has one goal: to win. At a time when most Southern universities had few black players on their teams and rarely played more than two at the same time, Haskins recruits an unprecedented seven black players for his team and often has three of them starting. His new additions have played on the streets of the South Bronx between breaks at a Detroit steel company, and added fancy moves with the hope of playing for the Harlem Globetrotters. In addition to adjusting to life at Texas Western in El Paso, the players have to integrate with their white teammates and face discrimination from all fronts: the school administration, donors and alumni, spectators, and random strangers, not to mention other basketball teams.To everyone's surprise, the underdog Miners take on team after team, making it all the way to the 1966 NCAA championships. In an historic NCAA final game against the University of Kentucky Wildcats, Haskins played the first all-black collegiate basketball starting lineup, in many ways opening new doors for black players everywhere.
James Gartner's feature film directorial debut has impressive performances, great basketball action, snappy dialogue, and just the right amount of humor to complement the seriousness of its main subject. Most important, it pays tribute to an inspirational team and its coach, capturing a moment that changed the sport of basketball forever. Be sure to stick around through the credits to see interviews with the actual team members.