Not All Glory in Glory Road

The new film Glory Road, which premiered this past Friday to rave reviews, tells the remarkable story of the Texas Western College basketball team that in 1966 won the national collegiate championship. The Texas team, with an all-black starting lineup, defeated the all-white perennial powerhouse from the University of Kentucky. The game served to open up college basketball nationwide to black athletes, particularly in the South.

But there is a seamy side to the tale. The black players were not permitted to live on campus and did not have many of the privileges given to white athletes at the university. Two years after the national championship an article in Sports Illustrated quoted George McCarty, athletics director at Texas Western (which is now known as the University of Texas at El Paso), as saying, "The nigger athlete is a little hungrier, and we have been blessed with having some real outstanding ones. We think they've done a lot for us, and we think we've done a lot for them."


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