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The White Shadow (1978–1981)

TV Series  |   |  Drama, Sport
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Ratings: 8.0/10 from 698 users  
Reviews: 13 user | 6 critic

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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3   2   1  
1981   1980   1979   1978  
Won 1 Primetime Emmy. Another 1 win & 7 nominations. See more awards »



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Complete series cast summary:
 Ken Reeves (54 episodes, 1978-1981)
 Morris Thorpe (54 episodes, 1978-1981)
Byron Stewart ...
 Warren Coolidge (54 episodes, 1978-1981)
 Mario 'Salami' Pettrino (54 episodes, 1978-1981)
Joan Pringle ...
 Sybil Buchanan (53 episodes, 1978-1981)
 James Hayward (42 episodes, 1978-1981)
Nathan Cook ...
 Milton Reese (40 episodes, 1978-1981)
Ken Michelman ...
 Abner Goldstein (40 episodes, 1978-1981)
Ira Angustain ...
 Ricky Gomez (40 episodes, 1978-1981)
Erik Kilpatrick ...
 Curtis Jackson (39 episodes, 1978-1980)
 Nick Vitaglia / ... (34 episodes, 1979-1981)
Ed Bernard ...
 Jim Willis / ... (33 episodes, 1978-1980)
Russell Phillip Robinson ...
 Manager Phil Jefferson / ... (25 episodes, 1979-1980)


Ken Reeves was a professional basketball player who had to retire because of injuries. Against his sister Katie's advice, Ken takes a job as the basketball coach at Carver High School in Los Angeles, a tough, mixed-race school. Jim Willis, Ken's friend, was the principal for the first two seasons and was replaced by Sybil Buchanan, the former vice-principal, in the third year. Written by J.E. McKillop <jack-mckillop@worldnet.att.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Drama | Sport





Release Date:

27 November 1978 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Herencia de gloria  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

,  »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The original telecast of the first half of the Season 2 episode "The Death of Me Yet" was shown with no commercial interruptions, up to the point where Curtis Jackson (Erik Kilpatrick) was killed. See more »


At the end of the following episodes, "Wanna Bet?" and "That Old Gang of Mine". The roman numeral of the year 1979 at the end of the credits, was MCMLXXVIX. There was confusion of that because, the "V" should've been removed. The remaining first season episodes were finalized as MCMLXXIX, which was 1979 when the "V" was deleted. See more »


Morris Thorpe: [a new kid shows up wearing a basketball letter jacket] Relax, that jacket said Montana. There can't be more than three high schools in the whole territory.
See more »


Featured in Ego Trip's Race-O-Rama (2005) See more »

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User Reviews

The White Shadow Should Have Lasted 10+ Years.
11 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I wish The White Shadow would have lasted as long as Saturday Night Live, with a revolving cast of new students every three years. The world needed this show then and needs it even more now.

It boggles my mind why shows like The White Shadow, which addressed the real-life concerns of inner city kids in an intelligent, sensitive, poignant way get canceled while idiotic shows like Married With Children last forever. Kids may pretend they don't need help and guidance, act tough and independent, etc., but they do. This show provided it. It was full of wisdom and insight but was fun and entertaining at the same time. All of the actors were brilliant. It was one of the best ensembles ever put together. I watched a lot of the episodes on TV Land a few years ago and was just as moved and entertained then as I was when I was in high school 20 years ago.

I suppose the reason intelligent shows like this get canceled is because TV is a flawed medium. People surf the channels with their eyes, not their minds, and since the eyes are the most shallow of our receptors, they stop when they see a pair of boobs or graphic violence. This is why the Jerry Springer show keeps on going while intelligent documentaries that redeem and educate us all struggle in obscurity. It's a sad statement about humanity in general. In the final analysis, we get the TV shows we deserve.

If any of the cast or crew of The White Shadow ever read this, THANK YOU for helping me through high school at a time when I had very few sensible role models (like Coach Reeves) or instruction on how to make the tough decisions. Your show provided both without being condescending or preachy. I wish there were more shows like it today.

19 of 20 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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