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Film / Glory Road

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Glory Road is an American film directed by James Gartner, released on January 13, 2006.

The film is based on a true story dealing with the events leading to the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Championship,note  in which Don Haskins, head coach of the Texas Western College (now the University of Texas at El Paso) led a team with an all-black starting lineup, a first in NCAA history. The film follows a semi-fictional version of this tale, leading up to the championship game against powerhouse Kentucky and its all-white lineup.

This film provides examples of:

  • Anti-Villain: Coach Rupp is portrayed as being potentially racist and a Sore Loser, but has some redeeming traits. He's A Father to His Men, speaking encouragingly to his players rather than blowing up at them once they start losing. He doesn't resort to cheating or personal attacks during the game. And he eventually lets black players onto his team, as detailed in the epilogue.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: Inverted. As several white coaches and reporters inside the bathroom stalls make racist comments about the Miners, one of them steps out and sees Haskins standing by the sink with a Death Glare.
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Jerry Armstrong in the tumultuous locker room scene following the first loss of the season.
    Armstrong:You think it's easy being on this team? Taking a backseat to you every day? We came here to play basketball, just like you guys! Now it's like we don't even count. WE'RE THE MINORITY!
  • Education Mama: Mrs. Flournoy is excited when her son is admitted to a university to play basketball and flies out to Texas to embarrass him in class upon hearing that he's been falling behind in his studies.
  • It Will Never Catch On: Pre-Character Development, trainer Ross Moore feels this way about having more than a token black player or two on a college team.
    Ross: You carrying on like Negroes gonna be the future of basketball. Could you imagine that?
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story; To the point that Texas A&M University-Commerce (East Texas State when the film was set) demanded Disney to apologize for portraying them very negatively.
    • Disney argued that this was a case of Adaptation Distillation; they couldn't show each game where the team had racial slurs thrown at them.
  • White Man's Burden: A variation - Instead of a single impoverished minority, it's an entire starting lineup.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: Yes and no. In real life, Texas Western was ranked #2 in the country going into the NCAA tournament, but Texas Western were still perceived as an underdog due to racism and questions about the level of competition they had faced during the season.note  It's generally accepted that racist officials calling their games were often biased against the team because of their all-black starting lineup. Beating all-white Kentucky (ranked #1) is considered a landmark victory for a reason.