The film “Glory Road” tells the true events surrounding Texas Western University’s 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship. The Miners, a team that featured seven black and five white players, proved naysayers wrong by succeeding with an exciting, up-tempo brand of basketball led by a core of black players. Released January 13, 2006, the drama received rave reviews and pulled in $42.6 million at the box office, according to the Internet Movie Database. Some little-known facts about the film add to the story, too.
Inspiration for Movie
A book written by Texas Western basketball coach Don Haskins, who led the team to the 1966 championship, and sportswriter Dan Wetzel, inspired the film “Glory Road.” Haskins’ autobiographical account of the 1966 season was named “Glory Road: My Story of the 1966 NCAA Basketball Championship and How Our Team Triumphed Against the Odds and Changed America Forever.” The book hit shelves Nov. 30, 2005. It was released at the same time as the film. The book has 254 pages.
Haskins had a cameo in the film, appearing as a gas station attendant during a recruiting trip. Actor Josh Lucas, who played Haskins in the film, had gas pumped into his vehicle by the real Haskins, who was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame the year the film was released. Two years after the film reached theaters, Haskins, nicknamed "the Bear," died. He was 78. While at Texas Western, which changed its name to the University of Texas-El Paso after the championship year, Haskins’ squads compiled a 719-353 win-loss mark. UTEP’s basketball arena is now known as the Don Haskins Center.
"Glory Road" won ESPN’s 2006 ESPY Award for the best sports movie. The film also earned two nominations for the 2007 Black Reel Awards. The nominations were for the best screenplay and best song categories. The song nomination was for “People Get Ready,” a song performed by Alicia Keys and Lyfe Jennings, and written by Curtis Mayfield.
The film “Glory Road” features some events that never happened, according to a column written by Seattle Post-Intelligencer movie critic William Arnold, who said he interviewed the film’s producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, before its release. Bruckheimer told him that some movie scenes were fabricated for effect. Among them was a scene in which one of the players is assaulted in a restaurant and another in which the team’s hotel rooms were ransacked. Neither event took place, according to Arnold. He also stated that fans of Seattle University told him they attended the game between the two teams and that the film’s inclusion of racial animosity toward Western Texas never occurred. Arnold also said the Seattle University team had six key players who were black, but the film depicted the team as predominantly white.
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