The White Shadow (1978–1981)

TV Series  |   |  Drama, Sport
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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 <>

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?


Byron Stewart was hired for the part of Warren Coolidge after Ken Howard saw him on TV in the movie Fire Sale (1977). Howard immediately phoned Bruce Paltrow to hire Stewart, who is 6'8" tall, because Howard wanted at least one "player" taller than himself on the Carver team (Howard is 6'6"). See more »


Ken Reeves' NBA career is referred to several times in the series, but the number of years and the teams he played on seem to change each time. For instance, he tells reporter Sally Adams in "The Offer" that he was in the Chicago Bulls' starting lineup for 10 seasons. In "Wanna Bet", street hustler Bobby Magum remembers Reeves playing for Chicago, Denver, and Milwaukee. Finally, in "Little Orphan Abner", he tells Abner Goldstein's grandparents he spent the last six years of his career with the Bulls. See more »


Ken Reeves: [Coach Reeves has just pulled all of his starting players from a game except his center] I'd pull you too Coolidge but you're so fat, you need to run.
See more »


Referenced in The Boondocks: The Real (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

Only three years?!!?
30 January 2002 | by (Bedford, PA) – See all my reviews

Good television does not just entertain but make you wonder. This show makes me wonder several things...

* Why did it take another 20 years for executives to find another good series for Ken Howard?

* Why did this show survive only three years while CBS allowed "Alice", "One Day At A Time", "The Jeffersons" and "All In The Family" to die pathetically three years after they stopped being entertaining?

* Who makes these decisions, anyhow?

This was by far one of the best shows ever. Set in an inner city, the directors worked hard to make it realistic. And they did. Jackson got killed. Thorpe and Coolidge got herpes from the same woman. Reese fell victim to an unscrupulous high school coach. Salami had an affair with a teacher. Hayward's cousin died of a drug overdose. Goldstein struggled with his faith. Coach Reeves struggled with the death of a player during practice. Gomez joined a gang. The show's honesty and wonderful direction and script was so good it was even played on public television in some areas.

Coach Reeves mentored the kids, but never patronized them or tried to be "down" with them. His attitude was "Believe it or not, I've been where you are. So I'll offer you my advice. You can take it or not, but you will have to live with the results either way, so choose carefully." And Reeves also learned from the kids and they learned from each other.

It was a show with limitless potential, but was on a network with limited vision. Pity.

15 of 15 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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