This is actually one of my favorite sports and live action Disney movies of all time, while I won’t say it is as good as a few of their other sports movies this one still holds a place in my heart. Released in 2006, Glory Road talks about the true story leading up to the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Championship game and the huge impact it had going forward. Spoilers ahead as always. I DO NOT OWN THE PICTURE.
Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) is now the head basketball coach for Texas Western College in El Paso, TX. Looking out for the best talent Don finds many basketball players and students regardless of the color of their skin, much too many chagrin at first. Many of the people Don finds have raw talent and skill, but need teamwork in order to be better. Among the people he finds are Bobby Joe Hill (Derek Luke) who falls in love with a waitress named Tina (Tatyana M. Ali) along the way, Harry Flournoy (Mehcad Brooks) who has some funny moments thanks to his mother, David Lattin (Schin A.S. Kerr) a huge guy and Willie Cage (Damaine Radcliff) who is temporarily sidelined due to a heart condition. Don trains his team hard and gets very little help from his superiors because of the black players. The team does very well in the games as Don eventually allows them to play how they want as well as how he wants. Unfortunately the more they win the more threats and acts of violence occur to the team and to Don’s family; his wife Mary (Emily Deschanel) and their sons. The team makes it to the NCAA finals against the top ranked team in the nation, the University of Kentucky Wildcats led by Adolph Rupp (Jon Voight). Don decides to do something drastic, playing only the seven black players in the game. Probably shouldn’t go into too much without giving the movie away.
I love this movie so much. Josh Lucas is incredible as Don, showcasing so much passion (keep an eye out for the real Don Haskins in this movie). The basketball players in the movie are amazing, showcasing so much skill. The writing is fantastic and there are many great camera shots. I watched this movie along with my entire seventh grade during one of the last days of school and it was quite an experience. I could hear people going “Hmm OK” whenever we first saw one of the players showing off some skill, rounds of applause when the team was doing well or a very impressive move as well as people upset when acts of racism appeared (there was one scene after the team returns from the hotel after a particularly tough game where you could have heard a pin drop in that auditorium). The final game had everyone on the edge of their seats, and I am confident in saying my entire seventh grade had a great time that day. Now while not everything in the movie actually happened to the team it is still a great film to watch, it even won the ESPY for Best Sports Movie. I wouldn’t call Glory Road must see, but I would say it is worth the watch.