This week on TSL Sports Talk, actor and director Thomas Carter, joined us to talk about his career and his new movie When The Game Stands Tall. Carter is best known for his role in the TV series, The White Shadow, where he played James "Hollywood" Hayward, a high school basketball star with a high IQ. You may also recognize Carter as the director of Swing Kids, Save the Last Dance, and Coach Carter. TSL Sports Talk host, Mark Gray, opened up the interview by talking to Carter about how The White Shadow seemed to set the direction for a lot of the cast’s future roles, in that many of the cast members became involved in race and sports-related “spin-offs” after The White Shadow. Gray asked Carter if he thought there was a message or movement that was bigger than The White Shadow, when he was on the set back in the 70’s.
"Well, I didn't know of all the things that were going to happen, would happen, but I did have -and certainly do have now- a great sense of pride and an awareness that, that was a ground breaking show. It was the first time –or among the first time- that you had Black characters in an on going basis on a dramatic series, every week being portrayed on television. So, we were taking a look into a Black community, through the eyes of a White coach, but we were still going into that community with these characters, with these guys on the team. We did have a couple of White guys, one Latino, but it was mostly a Black environment, so that was really new. And I think the show was really groundbreaking in more ways than I realized at the time, and Black and White audiences really embraced that show. I can’t tell you the number of people who come up to me now –Black and White- that are like, oh wow I used to watch that show. So people still remember the show and we try to take a fairly realistic look into the lives of those characters. I’m very proud of it. Obviously, out of that show came other things- a number of us directors got started [after The White Shadow]."
Listen to the full two-part interview below to hear Carter describe what it was like working with the cast and characters in The White Shadow, how he related to the story lines in his roles, his new movie, When the Game Stands Tall, coming to theaters next month and more.