5 Sports Films That Highlight the Struggles of Legendary Black Athletes

Team Connection is committed to connecting athletes, coaches, and fans to celebrate the unifying power and magic of sports.  We are also learning from each other.  One of our team members, Eric Lamar, recommended this list of movies to show what systemic racism looks like in the world of sports.  We’ll be showcasing other educational materials in future posts and welcome your suggestions.

Sport Fuels Life is Team Connection’s motto and athletic community.  We support our black community of coaches, athletes and sports fans and the black lives matter movement. We hope these films increase everyone’s discomfort and learning—a path to progress and good sportsmanship.

  1. Race
    Based on the true story of Gold Medal Olympian Jesse Owens and his journey to greatness. From his college experience facing racial discrimination to being thrust into the center of the conflict surrounding the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games because of racial propaganda in Nazi Germany.

  2. Remember the Titans
    In 1971 Virginia, racial tensions ran deep in the community of Alexandria when the high school football team hired African-American coach Herman Boone. This film is often listed as one of the greatest football films ever produced. We love it because it chronicles the true story of a coach who gave it all for his team. Itis a perfect example of how sports can transform communities and make a positive impact on the lives of young athletes.   

  3. 42
    Based on the true story of Jackie Robinson, the first black Major League Baseball player, this film details how he bravely overcame the racial discrimination and slurs he faced to become one of the MLB’s most successful and revered athletes.

  4. Glory Road
    Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins bucks convention by making his Texas Western University basketball team’s starting lineup the first all-black lineup in the history of the NCAA. Based on a true story, the team faces off against Kentucky’s all-white, #1 ranked team and wins the National Championship.  In the process, the the game of basketball is changed forever.

  5. Ali
    This is a powerful film about the true life of legendary boxer Muhammad Ali and his path that includes winning the heavyweight title, being banished from the sport, and returning  return to the ring. It follows Ali’s career from 1964 to 1974 and touches on the great social and political upheaval in the United States following the assassinations of Martin Lurther King, Jr. and Malcolm X.


BONUS recommendation: Just Mercy.
A non-sports related film based on the life work of civil rights lawyer, Bryan Stevenson, who works to defend Walter McMillian who was wrongfully convicted of murder. Starring Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx, Warner Bros. has made this film available to rent for free the entire month of June through a variety of digital movie services in the United States including Apple TV, Google Play, Amazon Prime Video, Redbox, Youtube and more.

Written by sportfuelslife

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