"Glory Road," the Disney film that told the story of the Texas Western Miners historic 1966 championship over Kentucky turned five years old this month.
The 1965-66 Texas Western College (now UTEP) team is credited with opening basketball playing opportunities for African Americans across the country. The NCAA championship game was historic because the Miners started five African Americans while Kentucky started five whites.
"Glory Road" opened on Jan. 13, 2006 in the U.S. and was the No. 1 movie over the Martin Luther King Jr. weekend. It earned $42,647,449 domestically during its run.
Actor Josh Lucas, who played legendary coach Don Haskins in the film, said he was profoundly affected by portraying Haskins in "Glory Road" and knew how much it meant to the city.
"I took pretty substantial life lessons from playing him," Lucas said in a 2005 El Paso Times interview. "Meeting Haskins, honestly realizing how incredibly important it was to El Paso, this town, was when I started to get a bit nervous, to be honest," Lucas said of his role in "Glory Road."
Magic Johnson told Pat Riley, his then coach for the Los Angeles Lakers, that had the Miners' David "Big Daddy D" Lattin not dunked on Riley in that championship game, Johnson would not have been in the league."
In the time since "Glory Road" was in theaters, the '66 Miners were inducted as a team into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. Only a handful of teams have been inducted into the hall of fame.
Fans who want to see the Texas Western-Kentucky championship game can do so by clicking here. The video is available for purchase at $24.99 or for streaming at $3.99 and up.
More information: www.utep.edu/gloryroad