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ESPN presents 'Black Magic'

by Mel Bracht Modified: March 14, 2008 at 6:27 am •  Published: March 14, 2008
As the first black basketball player to play in the Southeastern Conference in 1967, Vanderbilt University's Perry Wallace was subjected to terrible verbal abuse from fans and cheerleaders of opposing teams.

Wallace described his first trip to Mississippi State University as "hellish.” "You'd hear (bad words). We're going to lynch you. We're going to burn you at the stake.'”

Wallace was interviewed for ESPN's remarkable four-hour documentary "Black Magic,” which will air commercial-free 8-10 p.m. Sunday and Monday. Co-produced by Dan Klores and basketball legend Earl "The Pearl” Monroe, "Black Magic” tells the story of the injustice facing blacks and black players, which led to the Civil Rights Movement, and how integration transformed basketball with the emergence of superstars such as Elgin Baylor, Oscar Robertson, Wilt Chamberlain and Bill Russell.

Actor Samuel L. Jackson, jazz great Wynton Marsalis and New Orleans Hornets guard Chris Paul are the narrators.

Klores said he shot more than 250 hours of film and interviewed 45 people, including Earl Lloyd, who in 1950 became the first black player in the NBA, Willis Reed, Avery Johnson, Ben Wallace, Charles Oakley, John Chaney, Bob Love, Al Attles, Pee Wee Kirkland, Dick Barnett, Woody Sauldsberry, Bob Dandridge, Sonny Hill, Dave Robbins, Harold Hunter, Cleo Hill, Ernie Brown, and Howie Evans.

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by Mel Bracht
Copy Editor, Sports Media
Mel Bracht is a copy editor on the presentation desk and also covers sports media. A 1978 graduate of Indiana University, Bracht has been a print journalist for 34 years. He started his career as sports editor of the Rensselaer (Ind.) Republican...
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