Sport

Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004) Ken Burns, Jack Johnson, Keith David, Samuel L. Jackson, Documentary, Biography, Sport

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The story of Jack Johnson is huge. The first black Heavyweight Champion of the World, 1908 to 1915, he was rowdy, smart, rebellious, and proud. He was also resilient in the face of unrelenting racism. And, as Stanley Crouch observes in Ken Burns’ Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson, “There is nobody like Jack Johnson, because, first thing, when Jack Johnson was fighting, he could have been killed at any of his major fights. There were people out in the audience who were probably willing to murder him. He knew it, they knew it, everybody in the world knew it.”

Talented and world-famous as a young man, as well as essentially unbeatable, Johnson was champion when (official, as opposed to underground) boxing was a wholly white province, when the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and Jack London, all editorialized as to natural orders, in which African Americans were humble and inferior, and Caucasians were honorable, strong, and always right. And yet, as courageous and frankly brilliant as Jack Johnson was, his story is frequently forgotten in the wake of more recent flashy sports and other celebrities.
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Go Man Go (1954) James Wong Howe, Dane Clark, Patricia Breslin, Sidney Poitier, Drama, Sport

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The inspirational story of the famed basketball tricksters The Harlem Globetrotters is chronicled in this drama. The Trotters began in the 1920s when a manager catches a group of talented players on the basketball court. He becomes obsessed with getting these young black men the recognition he feels they deserve. He gathers them together as a team and they begin barnstorming a series of small towns. The film’s climax takes on overtones of the Civil Rights Movement when it depicts a major game between them and an all-white team of champions. The Globetrotters beat the tar out of their opponents. One of the main storylines concerns the friendship between Saperstein and his wife, and player Inman Jackson and his wife.
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Panter Lavan / White Panther (2013) Danni Reisfeld, Ze’ev Revach, Yevgeny Orlov, Meytal Gal, Drama, Family, Sport

Panter Lavan AKA White Panther (2013)
In the 1990’s a million former USSR Jews arrived in Israel. The immigrants were despised by the local population who feared their ‘invasion’. While many embraced the Israeli lifestyle, others chose to live in self-made Russian ghettos. These ghettos were a fertile ground for the creation of self-hating Jewish skinheads. ‘White Panther’ is the story of Alex, a young Russian immigrant who joins a skinheads’ gang, led by his older brother. An unexpected meeting with David, a religious Moroccan Jew, gives Alex a chance to pursue his longtime dream of becoming a boxer like his father. Alex finds himself torn between his two father figures – his violent older brother and his new Jewish trainer, only to find out the truth about those he so admires.
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One on One (1977) Lamont Johnson, Robby Benson, Annette O’Toole, G.D. Spradlin

One on One 1977
Henry Steele is a basketball phenom at his small town high school, but when he matriculates to a big city university on a scholarship, soon realizes that he has few skills outside the sport. Expected by his coach to contribute significantly to the team, Henry is overwhelmed by the demands on his time, the “big business” aspect of college sports, and the fact that he never fully learned to read. Things look bleak for Henry when Janet Hays, a pretty graduate student, is assigned as Henry’s tutor. Her intellect and strength lift Henry out of his doldrums just in time to battle the coach, who attempts to rescind Henry’s scholarship.
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Bang the Drum Slowly (1973) John D. Hancock, Michael Moriarty, Robert De Niro, Vincent Gardenia

Bang the Drum Slowly (1973)
Henry Wiggen (Author to his friends) and Bruce Pearson are members of the New York Mammoths major league baseball team – Author the star pitcher, Bruce the catcher who never quite lived up to his potential – friends, and roommates when they’re on the road. During the off season, Bruce is diagnosed with a terminal case of Hodgkin’s disease. Author is the only person on the team who knows of Bruce’s illness, with neither planning on telling anyone. Author takes extraordinary measures to ensure that he is playing ball with Bruce during what will probably be Bruce’s final season before he can no longer play. Author looks after Bruce in part because Bruce is mentally a simple man who can easily be taken advantage of, especially by his opportunistic girlfriend Katie. As the season progresses, the team isn’t quite gelling, despite being the best team on paper.
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