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by Gary Norris Gray

Earlier this month, the American Film Institute (AFI) released the top ten sports movies of all time. This is the first time in film history.

However, there are blatant omissions in this list of movies, Especially or specifically the absence of African Americans or Americans of color. The omission of females is notable. African American, Asian, Latino, or Caucasian this number is ZERO.

While America celebrates the nomination of the first African American Barack Obama for the president of the United States, some influential Americans are still viewing issues in black and white.

Anyone can compile a list of their favorite movies and the AFI could be such an example of one list.

There is nothing wrong about this list of movies AFI selection. Everybody has their own taste, everybody has their own likes and dislikes but there is a glaring earmark that is very noticeable in the AFI list. There is not one leading role by an African American or any person of color on this list below.

The main black characters in the AFI movie list are subjugated to the white leading role. As in the movie Jerry Maguire, Cuba Gooding Jr. is the side kick of Tom Cruse. The question remains did AFI chose these movies on purpose or was it just by chance. What was the criteria in the selection of these movies? Was it the ticket sales?

Here’s is the 2008 AFI All Time Sports List:

10. Jerry Maguire
9. National Velvet
8. Breaking Away
7. Caddyshack
6. The Hustler
5. Bull Durham
4. Hoosiers
3. Pride Of The Yankees
2. Rocky
1. Raging Bull

Listed below are some of the greatest sports movies of African American males but there are many more that could be listed here. While researching this subject I found over 20-30 sports movies of African Americans which were omitted from this list.

One movie on the AFI list many African Americans walked out of right in the middle of the film. This film is about two aging boxers a white challenger and a Black champion. The white challenger comes out of retirement to fight an epic 15 round battle, and wins.

Yes it could have happen and it has happen but this movie hero boxer became bigger then life. Americans made songs about him, they made five more movies about him, this year in 2008 there was another remake of this make believe champion. They even have a statue of this factious champion on the steps of City Hall in Philadelphia. Now mind you this city had a real Heavyweight Champion of the World named Joe Frazier and he does not have a monument or statue anywhere in the City of Philadelphia.

A very interesting phenomenon finding these movies. There are few African American female movies. With Black female athletes like Alice Coachman, Cheryl Miller, Layla Ali, Dawn Staley, Jackie Joyner-Keerse, Cynthia Cooper, Florence Griffin-Joyner, Cheryl Swoopes, Lisa Leslie, Willye White, Dominique Dawes, Anita France, Teresa Edwards, Voletta Flowers, Althea Gibson, Zina Garrison, The Williams Sisters, Robin Roberts, Wilma Rudolph, C Vivian Stringer, Lynett Woodward and Marion Jones.

These are 25 sports superstars in basketball, track, and boxing, who happen to be African American and female. So where are their stories? Where are their movies? Where do younger African American females watch these great women of yesterday and of tomorrow? How can anyone have an opportunity to watch these super stars?

Come on Spike Lee, Come on F. Gary Gray(no-relations), Come on Hughes Brothers, Come on John Singleton, and last Come on Van Peebles Family. Cannot forget sister Oprah Winfrey, Come on Black producers and directors let America see the African American Woman sport story, then they can be added to this great list of beautiful movies.

As the Black Eyed Peas stated in their number one hit “Lets Get It Started”,

The list below display the struggles of African Americans in Sports


1) Remember the Titan’s
2) The Hurricane- The Carter Story
3) Coach Carter
4) Requiem for a Heavyweight
5) Brian Song
6) The Great White Hope- The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson
7) Ali
8.) The Joe Lewis Story
9) White Men Can’t Jump
10) Hoop Dreams
11) Pride
12) Glory Road
13) The Jackie Robinson Story
14) Murder Ball (disabled basketball)
15) The Roy Campanella Story

What is your favorite sports movie? Let America know.

Gary Norris Gray

The Grayline The Analects of A Black Disabled Man
The Grayline on Air


Written by Symphony

September 2, 2008 at 1:27 am

Posted in Athletics

Tagged with ,

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