One of the awesome things (among many) of being an El Paso native, is that we carry a very special part of civil rights and athletic history. Most all El Pasoans know the landmark story of our beloved coach Don Haskins “The Bear” 1966 Texas Western men’s basketball team and the game winning night that changed history.
I know we, as El Pasoans, carry great pride in being the only Texas team to bring home an NCAA championship, but what I didn’t know, is that our story reaches across the ocean, all the way to Puerto Rico.
A few weeks ago I went on vacation to the beautiful island, while there I was enjoying dinner at the hotel one night, when the bartender struck up a conversation. As soon as I mentioned I was from El Paso, TX he immediately said “El Paso, I know El Paso” of course I was shocked and asked what he knew about my hometown.
He began to tell me how much people around the area love the movie Glory Road and how inspired many people were when watching the story of the first team to start five African-American players, who then went on to win a championship and how they broke the color barrier in basketball.
We continued chatting on, him asking me questions about the real story, the University, etc.. and me trying to recollect all the information I could, making sure I represented the El Paso name!