Review of The White Shadow

A white former NBA professional retires from the pro game and gets a job as a basketball coach in a predominantly black inner-city high school.
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Feb 21, 2017 8:15PM EST

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Ken Howard plays Ken Reeves, a white professional basketball player who retires from the Chicago Bulls of the NBA after a severe knee injury. Reeves takes a job as the head basketball coach at the fictional Carver High School, a mostly black and Hispanic urban high school in South Central Los Angeles. Not a big ratings hit, it drew praise from critics and helped pave the way for later realistic dramas.

The concept for the show originated from Ken Howard's own experiences as a high school basketball star. Howard was one of the few white basketball players at the school and the only white player in the starting lineup, and had been nicknamed "The White Shadow". There were few racial tensions at his own high school, but the team encountered such tensions when they played elsewhere.

The White Shadow also presented a more realistic view of high school than previous tv shows, and dealt with controversial subject matter such as sexually transmitted disease and gay sexual orientation among high school students.


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