: Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Austin Nichols, Jon Voight, Evan Jones, Emily DeschanelDirector
: James GartnerGenre
: Drama, SportRated
: PGRunning Time
: 118 minutesSynopsis
: For Don Haskins, the dream was always about winning: winning with guts, heart and grit; winning with self-respect; and winning even when the odds were completely stacked against you. What Haskins didn't know in 1966-when he was just a small-town family man trying to make an indelible mark in his first job as a collegiate basketball coach-is that his underdog team's incredible victory would transcend sport and change not only his life and the lives of his players, but the country itself.
Haskins and his scrappy Texas Western Miners were unwittingly about to revolutionise basketball and the American landscape. It was still a time of innocence in the United States, yet the country was on the verge of major social changes when Haskins decided to play an all-African-American opening lineup at the NCAA championships against the all-white juggernaut of the University of Kentucky Wildcats. Haskins did it to win. But his bold decision would help break down barriers of segregation that affected every segment of society and set a new course for the future as his team did the one thing they could to prove themselves to a watching world: they played their hearts out Release Date
: 4th of May, 2006I. Teamwork: The True Story Behind Glory Road
In 1965, on the heels of the landmark Civil Rights Act passed by Congress, American sports were on the cusp of change-but they needed a bold catalyst. Basketball in particular was quickly gaining in popularity, speeding up and shifting in style, especially as new celebrity players such as Wilt Chamberlain were changing the face of the NBA. Yet there remained the question of finding the new talent that would fuel the game's future. The truth was that college basketball, like other collegiate activities, was still mired in unjust policies of segregation and racial inequality-and opportunities were still being denied to some of the country's most thrilling and undiscovered athletic talents.
Don Haskins, who was just another tough-talking, hard-driving high-school basketball coach, seized the opportunity to fulfill his personal quest to become a champion when Texas Western hired him as their coach. To create a team with the greatest chance at victory, Don Haskins believed he should recruit the best raw talent he could-no matter what their race, background or life story.
As early as the late 1950s Texas Western University (now renamed University of Texas at El Paso) began to offer athletic scholarships to a limited number of African American players. In the 1960s, that policy was kicked into high gear by Haskins, who, despite being a complete unknown, came to Texas Western ready to prove himself as a coach of unique vision.
Searching for authentic talent and the hunger to win, Don Haskins aggressively recruited in a color-blind fashion, heading into the inner cities of Detroit and New York, where basketball was still a hotly contested, up-tempo street game. Ultimately, Don Haskins forged an integrated team that was, in a rare change for a Southern university, predominantly black. Once he had assembled his explosively talented but inexperienced team, Haskins drove his athletes with his notoriously tough but heartfelt coaching methods to give every game-and every challenging situation in their lives-their all.
In 1966, Don Haskin's and the team's brutally hard work began to pay off big-time. In an incredible season of victories, the Miners won 27 games and lost just one, the same record as their equally fierce rivals in the NCAA championships: the all-white University of Kentucky Wildcats. As the championship game got under way, in front of packed stands and a national television audience, Don Haskins made a decision that would alter everything: he chose to play an all-black starting lineup. Though the Miners were considered a long shot, their tenacious rebounds, precision shooting and unflagging spirit spurred them to a victory so stirring that no one who saw it would ever forget it.
The amazing triumph did more than excite the fans. It helped shift the national perception of African-American athletes and bring about the widespread desegregation of college sports. In turn, the desegregation of sports helped to spread greater equality throughout American society. Don Haskins, who continued to be an inspirational and winning coach, became a hero. Admired by his peers for his courage and his larger-than-life personality, he was elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1997.
Yet few people today know the story of Don Haskins and the dream-come-true NCAA victory-a story that producer Jerry Bruckheimer felt was one of the great classics of American history when he first heard about it years ago from NBA star Pat Riley. When Jerry Bruckheimer had the opportunity to obtain the rights to Don Haskins' story, he was thrilled to bring this largely unknown tale of courage and grit to the screen.
"What's so interesting about Don Haskins is that he wasn't looking to make any kind of statement. He simply was driven to win," says Jerry Bruckheimer. "Yet in making winning his priority, he changed history. Prior to Don Haskins' heartfelt decision to have an all-African-American starting lineup at the championship game, there were many opportunities missed by gifted athletes. Don Haskins' actions inspired a lot of players to go on and have illustrious NBA careers. He was an amazing person who had an indelible impact on a lot of lives."
Jerry Bruckheimer continues: "I think this is an especially important story to tell today because a lot of kids no longer realise how hard the players and coaches in the '60s had to fight to bring them the incredible opportunities that exist now."
In developing the story of the 1966 NCAA championship into a feature film, Jerry Bruckheimer always saw it as being much broader than simply a "sports drama." He saw it as being about the human drive to excel.
"Don Haskins is a fascinating character: a hard-charger and a tough personality who demanded a lot from the people around him," observes Jerry Bruckheimer. "He understood something very key-which is that to become a champion it takes a lot of character and a lot of hard work. That is what lies at the heart of this story," says Jerry Bruckheimer.
Jerry Bruckheimer's production team was equally excited by the material. "We felt that any story that was so inspirational, surprising and true would resonate deeply with audiences," says executive producer Mike Stenson. Adds executive producer Chad Oman, "There are a few iconic moments in sports that made a difference in history-and this is one of them. But it's also a very human story about a young coach who came out of nowhere and discovered he had something great to give."
Executive producer Andy Given, who grew up in El Paso and knew Don Haskins and his family, saw the film as a dream come true. "I have wanted to see this movie made since I was a kid," he says. "I always knew it would make a great movie-it was a moment that became almost a kind of emancipation proclamation for sports-but it took someone like Jerry Bruckheimer to get it made."
When director James Gartner came on board, he, too, began to see Don Haskins story in a larger light. "The real story of Glory Road is what happens off the basketball court," notes James Gartner. "One of the original players from the team once said, 'We didn't break down all the doors, but we opened some,' and that is why this story is so important to tell."
Jerry Bruckheimer had been chasing after James Gartner to make a feature film for years, having been highly impressed with James Gartner's directorial work in advertising. The veteran producer believed James Gartner had the right sensibilities for Glory Road's mix of '60s innocence, hard-charging sports action and moments of human inspiration. "James Gartner has been directing touching, wonderful commercials for years, and he has a real moral vision that matched the story. He also has a very unique visual style that is really important to this picture because it combines authenticity, heart and humor," says Jerry Bruckheimer.
When Jerry Bruckheimer approached him, James Gartner had never even heard of Don Haskins, but he soon was completely taken with his story. "For me it wasn't just another script, but a true story about an important time in America's history," he says.
For James Gartner, tackling a real page out of recent U.S. history in his first outing as a film director was a thrilling challenge. "The journey of making Glory Road has been incredibly rewarding," he says. "Obviously we took some artistic license as this isn't intended to be a biopic, but nevertheless I felt a tremendous responsibility to capture the true essence of Don Haskins' story. This story is beloved by so many, from the streets of El Paso where it took place, to parents telling their children the tale as a bedtime story. Just as Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball, in many ways Don Haskins and his team did the same for basketball." II. Discipline: About the Characters and Cast of Glory RoadThe Coach: Josh Lucas as Don Haskins
The heart of Glory Road is the story of the unstoppable drive and courage of Don Haskins-so it was key from the beginning to find the right young actor to portray the green but passionately ambitious coach whose love of winning spurred major changes in the game of basketball and the equality of college sports. The filmmakers unanimously agreed that Josh Lucas, the rising young star who came to the fore in "A Beautiful Mind" and "Sweet Home Alabama" and who has appeared most recently in such films as "Stealth" and "An Unfinished Life," had a palpable connection to the essence of Don Haskins-his ability to be at once intimidating, demanding, merciless and also incredibly inspirational.
Says Jerry Bruckheimer: "Josh Lucas was the right man to play Don Haskins. There is an intensity to him and, most importantly, he knows how to motivate other actors and he threw himself into the role with complete devotion."
Director James Gartner adds, "From the very beginning, Josh Lucas was sensitive to what he needed to do to bring Don Haskins to life on screen. An actor must bring their individual personality to a role, and Josh Lucas did a fabulous job making this character his own."
Josh Lucas was stunned when he learned the story of Glory Road and was moved by Don Haskins' role in it. "I don't think a lot of people realise that basketball was so segregated until this point," says the actor. "There were basically all-black leagues and all-white leagues. If it was an integrated team, then the couple of black players sat on the bench most of the time. In this atmosphere, Texas Western beating Kentucky was more than just a game-it was a turning point in society and an exciting moment in history most people know very little about."
He continues, "The cool thing about Don Haskins is that he was basically color-blind. He never understood why white players couldn't play against black players and vice versa. It made no sense to him. He just wanted to find the best players he could recruit-no matter who they were or where they were from, as long as they had that potential. It was as simple as that to him."
Josh Lucas dove headlong into Don Haskins' life and times, researching every possible aspect of life in 1960s Texas. His trailer on the set was lined with more than 700 pictures of Don Haskins, the team as well as general news clippings from the era.
Josh Lucas even gained thirty-five pounds during production to better emulate the famously bear-like body type of Haskins during his coaching days. "Don Haskins was addicted to basketball, so I knew if I was going to play him successfully, I had to start sharing that philosophy," the actor says of his approach.
To further get into the role, Josh Lucas began coaching the other cast members during their intensive basketball practices, running drills on the court with no mercy just as Don Haskins once did. He knew he had to assert his authority over the team even before the cameras started rolling-even if it meant temporarily getting tough with his fellow actors.
But the softer side of Don Haskins comes out in his home life with his children and his wife, Mary, who always believed in him and spurred him towards the greatness he achieved. To play Mary, the filmmakers chose Emily Deschanel, the star of Fox's new series "Bones" and whose film credits include "Cold Mountain" and "Spider-Man 2." Says Emily Deschanel, "Mary and Don Haskins had such a unique relationship, and to this day you can still see the softness and warmth between them. Throughout the film you can see Don Haskins being the disciplinarian coach that he was, but he wasn't that tough when he came home. I think every person needs someone in their life to keep them humble and grounded. That is what Mary did for Don Haskins."
Ultimately, Josh Lucas says that Don Haskins has become the most complex and interesting character of his screen career. "I loved playing Don Haskins because there's so much duality to him. He was complex, intimidating, rip-roaringly funny and honest to a fault. He could spew rattlesnake venom but at the same time he was this totally generous bear of a personality who was gracious with everybody. Don Haskins is a figure of mythic status, not just in El Paso, but around the world, and I feel really proud and honored to have had this chance to play him."
Executive producer Andy Given, who knows Don Haskins personally, was especially impressed by Lucas' performance. "Having grown up with the Don Haskins and having spent time with Don Haskins and his sons in my childhood, I have to say I think Josh Lucas nailed the part. It was uncanny." The Stay Player: Derek Luke as Bobby Joe Hill
Bobby Joe Hill, the feisty guard from Detroit who helped lead his Texas team to a historic victory in 1966, was once called by Don Haskins the greatest competitor he ever knew. To portray the star player, who was also coined "Rebel" by his teammates, the filmmakers turned to one of today's most promising new screen stars, Derek Luke, who won widespread acclaim for portraying the inspiring title role in "Antwone Fisher."
Derek Luke was immediately drawn to the role-and to the idea of playing a young man who demonstrated true passion in life both on and off the court. "Bobby Joe's fun-loving spirit and confidence shined no matter what he did. That is what made him such an amazing player and also makes him such a great character," he says. "I loved the story of Glory Road because it's about so much more than basketball. It's about the lives of the coach and the players and it's about finding that potential to go beyond what you thought was possible."
Derek Luke was also acutely aware of how very different times were for an African-American basketball player attending college in the South in the mid 1960s. "The truth is that Bobby Joe truly thought Don Haskins was fibbing when he asked him to be one of the starters for the Miners," notes Derek Luke. "In those days black players spent a lot of the time on the bench; they weren't allowed to express themselves on the court. And to think that a coach wanted him to come to Texas and be the number-one ball handler on the team? You have to understand, that was an incredible dream come true for Bobby Joe. He understood what it meant."
Though Derek Luke had never played basketball seriously before being cast as Hill, he immediately went into crash training, spending sweat-soaked hours day and night working on his free throws and footwork-and demonstrating an intensity and focus he seemed to share with his character. "In a way, I thought of this movie as almost an action film, in that I knew I would have to commit just as much physically as I did emotionally," he explains. "That was the real challenge."
On the set, Derek Luke's depth of devotion to his character, the game and the story's resonance in today's world became an inspiration to everyone. "Nobody has heart like Derek Luke," says director James Gartner. "He brought himself fully to this role." The Rival: Jon Voight as Coach Adolph Rupp
When Don Haskins and his team made it to the NCAA championships, they knew they were about to face down the toughest possible opponents-the highest-scoring team in the nation and four-time national champions, the University of Kentucky Wildcats, and their equally driven coach, Adolph Rupp. Adolph Rupp had developed a reputation for being brash, arrogant, ruthless and nearly unbeatable. Though he passed away years ago, Adolph Rupp remains a controversial figure whose role in basketball's segregation is still debated.
In the original Glory Road script, the character of Adolph Rupp had only a few lines of dialogue but once Academy Award®-winning actor Jon Voight was cast in the role, and demonstrated an uncanny mastery of Adolph Rupp's unique personality, the part was expanded.
Jerry Bruckheimer states, "I believe Jon Voight listened to hundreds of hours of tape on Adolph Rupp. As he did in 'Ali' with Howard Cosell and with Franklin D. Roosevelt in 'Pearl Harbor,' he became an expert at copying mannerisms and voice patterns, bringing Adolph Rupp fully to life."
Adds one of the film's basketball consultants, Tim Floyd, "I think the people in Kentucky are going to be knocked out when they see Jon Voight's dead-on portrayal of Adolph Rupp."
There are still unanswerable questions about Adolph Rupp's true personal beliefs, but Jon Voight was determined to play the character with veracity. Says James Gartner, "Jon Voight handled the part of Adolph Rupp with great sensitivity. It is still a big question mark what Adolph Rupp's feelings were towards black basketball players playing in white schools and we may never know. Yet Jon Voight captured the essence of Adolph Rupp as a coach in every look and gesture. That was what we needed."
For Jon Voight, accuracy was the aim. "I felt a responsibility to represent Adolph Rupp as he was in that moment," he says. "He was one of the greatest coaches of our lifetime, and many admired his skills despite what was thought about his social views. He was also part of this great story in which Don Haskins shows that sometimes we do big things in life and don't realise the importance at the time. And that is greatness."
Jon Voight made the decision to stay in character on set the entire time, which only added to the high-wire atmosphere when shooting the championship game. Recalls Josh Lucas: "When I realised that Joh Voight was going to be Adolph Rupp at all times, I decided I would look right back at him as Don Haskins. That really set the tone of true tension that existed between these two world-class coaches." The Dream Team: Casting the Texas Western Miners
Just as Don Haskins devoted himself to recruiting talented players for his Texas Western Miners, so, too, did Glory Road's filmmakers head out on an intensive hunt to cast the roles of the famously flashy team with a fresh and exciting young cast. The challenge was clear from the start. "We had to find a cast who were both convincing athletes and actors, two talents in one," say Jerry Bruckheimer. "We had to first test their athletic ability and then see if they felt honest in front of the camera."
Jerry Bruckheimer suggested that the filmmakers hold open basketball calls across the country to search for new talent. Calls were held in Los Angeles, New Orleans, and New York by basketball coordinator Mike Fisher, who had worked with Jerry Bruckheimer coordinating football on "Remember the Titans." Mike Fisher weeded out potential candidates by asking those auditioning to dunk the ball as soon as they walked in the room, hoping this would expose their raw talent. Once some skill with the ball was established, the filmmakers looked for uncanny matches with the personalities of the real-life players. For this, Jerry Bruckheimer turned to veteran casting director Ronna Kress with whom he worked on "Remember the Titans" and "Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl."
For example, Al Shearer, who plays the charismatic Nevil Shed, demonstrated the same playful and mischievous personality, known to television audiences from his on-air MTV hosting, that so many came to love in Shed. Schin A.S. Kerr who plays the Miners' big center David Lattin, played professional ball overseas so he had the athletic skills-but he won the part for real when he read for Jerry Bruckheimer and nailed the tough-guy persona that was a trademark for his character. Damaine Radcliff, who plays Willie Cager, was found in an open basketball casting call in New York. Radcliff had been playing ball on the streets since he was a child and had dreams of acting, but never thought an open casting call would merge his two passions in a major motion-picture debut. Mehcad Brooks, who portrays forward Harry Flournoy, hadn't played basketball since he was an all-state player in high school, but remembered his father telling him about the Texas Western victory as a bedtime story. And so it went, until the entire team was formed.
Says Jerry Bruckheimer, "So now we had our team, a bunch of kids from all over the country who had never met before, and we had to mold them into a group of champions. Wow, did we have our work cut out for us." III. Skill: Basketball Boot Camp and a Visit from Don Haskins
With the cast recruited, the next task was turning this ragtag group of athletes and actors into a team resembling the nation's hottest basketball talents. Three weeks before shooting began on Glory Road, the filmmakers shipped the actors off to an intensive basketball boot camp in New Orleans. No matter how experienced or inexperienced the actors-whether they were pro ball players or hadn't picked up a ball in years-they were all treated equally and put through their paces with an endless series of drills and fundamentals designed to create a real sense of teamwork. Panting and grunts filled the gymnasium every day, as a sea of Chuck Taylor Classic Converse High Tops squeaked across the wood floor.
Along with Mike Fisher, the basketball boot camp was run by Tim Floyd, current coach of University of Southern California's Trojans and former NBA coach for the Chicago Bulls and New Orleans Hornets. Floyd had worked as an assistant to Don Haskins for nine years so he could share inside knowledge with the cast about how it really was and push them into the kind of top performances Haskins demanded.
Mike Fisher and Tim Floyd agreed early on that this would be no Hollywood-style boot camp. There were no special privileges granted to anyone, and the guys were run ragged each and every day of camp as if basketball were the only thing that mattered. There were also no worries about hurting the actors' feelings with tough talk and pointed critiques. Instead, there was a deliberate effort to make the practices just as brutally hard as Haskins did for the Miners in the '60s.
One particular practice was quite special: the day Don Haskins himself showed up to meet the cast, share his remembrances of the period and, best of all, give the actors a taste of his inimitably uncompromising coaching style.
As practice began, Jerry Bruckheimer, Josh Lucas and the cast of players gathered around Don Haskins in a circle as the Hall of Fame coach reminisced to each actor about his real life character, giving each unique inspiration. Then, Don Haskins announced, "Let's play ball."
He did not hold back, spewing such typical phrases of fierce love at the awed actors as "What are you looking at?" and "You look like you are standing in mud. Pick up your feet and move." But Don Haskins also demonstrated another essential truth at the heart of his character-he was, underneath it all, a man who cared deeply about his players. Forty years later, Don Haskins revealed that he was still able to inspire a group of young men to want nothing more than to make him proud.
Throughout the inspirational practice with Don Haskins, Josh Lucas stuck like glue to the coach's side, watching his every move and word, and gaining further insight. Josh Lucas comments, "He was just fascinating to watch-the way he used his psychology, his powers of intimidation, his humor. Most of all, I was impressed by how he used his incredible knowledge of basketball every single moment on the court. I realised that no matter how harsh he seemed, he was always teaching."
Says Jerry Bruckheimer: "With Don Haskins taking the time to meet and coach our cast, and Mike Fisher and Tim Floyd on board helming our basketball department, I think we had the best inspiration possible."
In addition to regular practices, the cast also had to work out the complex choreography for seven different basketball games. To help prepare, the cast members watched footage of some of the old Miners' games, including the championship game against Kentucky. They perused historical photographs of their characters and they worked closely with Mike Fisher and Tim Floyd, studying choreographed storyboards of each play that would be recreated for the film.
Surprise visits from real-life 1966 Miners Nevil Shed, Jerry Armstrong, David Lattin, Willie Cager and Willie Worsley, added further up-close-and-personal insights.
Before the boot camp began, some of the cast had strong basketball skills and no acting experience; others had strong acting experience but limited basketball skills. Now, as the cast began to grow closer, an exchange took place in which the secrets of one man's specialty were shared with another, and…a team was born.
Sums up Jerry Bruckheimer, "These kids really bonded with one another. Of course we worked them hard and that helped to bring them closer. I guess they even hated our basketball advisors for a while because they worked them so hard. But that was all part of trying to make a movie that feels so real, the audience is swept up in the story." IV. Winning: Recreating the Game That Changed Everything
The story of Glory Road culminates in a pivotal scene for which Jerry Bruckheimer and James Gartner marshaled all their artistic resources-the 1966 NCAA championship game that changed history and was the pinnacle of all that Don Haskins hoped to achieve. The game had to be at once authentic and exciting, full of both the palpable tension and poetry in motion that made the David-and-Goliath matchup a nail-biting classic.
The production began by tracking down rare homemade footage that still existed of the game, as well as photographs from Texas Western yearbooks and over 30 priceless rolls of photographic film shot by Sports Illustrated. These helped to give the filmmakers a richer visual perspective of what happened during the game and what it looked like to the world.
Collaborating closely with directors of photography John Toon and Jeffrey L. Kimball, James Gartner hoped to capture in the game both an authentic essence of 1966 as well as dynamic basketball moves that would speak to today's love of slick, fast-paced, tightly competitive action.
Attempting to shoot the beloved game with fresh eyes, the camera team used a number of innovative rigs to follow the action firsthand-and sometimes used as many as five cameras at once. Jeffrey L. Kimball notes, "We rigged a 'flying camera' above the basketball court sidelines that could slide on a thick wire as fast as gravity. We also built a skateboard dolly to capture action low to the court floor and a rickshaw type of rig so you could literally run up and down the court with the players. These techniques, along with cameras on cranes that looked right down into the basketball hoop, provided us with some very exciting footage."
Meanwhile, production designer Geoffrey Kirkland was also faced with the task of bringing to life mid-'60s college life in all his designs for Glory Road. He worked closely with the art department in recreating the stadium atmosphere, right down to the signage and banners that were exact replicas of those used during the game. Even the old-fashioned electronic scoreboards were duplicated.
James Gartner wanted the overall color palate of the film to feel very primal and earthy, echoing the environs of El Paso with its vibrant Mexican heritage. But he also wanted Geoffrey Kirkland to imbue the film with a fun sense of nostalgia. "When you remember things from the past, those memories are influenced by old photographs and old pictures that are not colorful. We wanted to capture that kind of black-and-white, sepia feeling but without ever being drab," says Geoffrey Kirkland.
Because of scheduling delays due to the looming Hurricane Ivan, a location for the big game had to be found at the spur of the moment. The filmmakers settled on a livestock show arena at the Louisiana State University campus in Baton Rouge. The floor of the arena was dirt, so Geoffrey Kirkland constructed his own vintage basketball court made of wood. By this point, he had become an expert in converting modern gymnasiums back to a '60s period look-and had even forged a special "traveling" wood floor that could be quickly installed in different arenas for scenes of the Miners on the road.
Geoffrey Kirkland knew that every detail would count. "In other sports, arenas tend to be so huge so you can hide things seen in the background," he observes, "but a basketball arena is like a small theater in the round. You can see everything. It is very intimate."
Comments Jerry Bruckheimer: "It was really important to me that the film capture 1966 very authentically. Geoffrey Kirkland did a superb job as production designer and brought a lot of high-quality realism to the film."
Also adding to the realism was the period clothing designed by costume designer Alix Friedberg. Alix Friedberg focused not only on the vintage basketball uniforms but also on the more formal clothing of those watching in the stands, right down to thick-rimmed black glasses for the men, cat-eyed glasses for the ladies, dazzling vintage jewelry, high-heeled pumps and brown leather loafers.
Alix Friedberg was especially thrilled to have people who were there to witness the event giving her firsthand information. "From Don Haskins himself to the library at Texas El Paso, everyone just opened their doors to us. We were so fortunate to have this authentic information to create from," says Alix Friedberg.
Alix Friedberg and James Gartner made the unusual decision to have the Miners' uniforms evolve during the course of the film, the colors becoming richer and warmer as the young men develop their unsinkable bonds as a team and work against the odds towards victory. They started with the authentic 1966 Texas Western uniform.
"I was so lucky because one of the players still had his original jersey from 1966 and let me borrow it to track down the mill that created the fabric," explains the production designer. "The mill was more than cooperative and they dusted off the machines they hadn't used for over thirty years and recreated the original jerseys for our movie. They used the exact yarn, the same pattern. Seam for seam, they are perfect replicas."
The resulting uniforms were a surprise to contemporary fans of the NBA. Says Jerry Bruckheimer, "When you look at the player uniforms from Glory Road, you suddenly realise how wardrobe has changed for basketball in the last forty years. There was nothing oversized. Things fit snug back then, right down to the Chuck Taylor Classic Converses."
The challenges of going back in time also extended to the prop department, which had to make sure that even the concession cups would resemble the Coca-Cola design of 1966 and that the floor reporters would be tapping away on authentic Royal and Smith-Corona typewriters. Every detail was straight out of an old newsreel depicting the historic championship game.
How real did the Glory Road set ultimately feel? Coach Pat Riley, formerly of the Los Angeles Lakers and now president of the Miami Heat, who had played for the Kentucky Wildcats in the 1966 championship game, said he felt catapulted back in time when he visited the set. Riley comments: "It was clear from the moment they walked on the court the Miners had presence. More presence than us Wildcats. This is what won them the game. Coming to the set of Glory Road was the first time I had met Don Haskins. It was strange and wonderful exchanging stories about the game almost forty years later. It was like it had happened yesterday."