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").
According to Kevin Hooks, the decision to cancel the show was made abruptly after 15 episodes of Season 3. At least three episodes remain unaired, one in which he was to make his directorial debut, and two others which were to be centered around the characters of Jesse Mitchell (Stoney Jackson) and Eddie Franklin (Art Holliday).
In the pilot episode, mens high-school basketball head-coach, Ken Reeves drove a snazzy red Mustang convertible sports car. In subsequent episodes, he is seen driving only an old station wagon, probably in an attempt to show Reeves as more down-to-earth instead of a glamorous and retired National Basketball Association athlete.
In the two instances where Coach Reeves (Ken Howard) "dunked", he had to use an off camera ramp. He did this in both the pilot episode and in Season 1's "Wanna Bet" during the game with Bobby Magum ('Michael Warren').
After graduating from Carver, Goldstein joined the Marines, Hayward went to college majoring in pre-law, Gomez became a mechanic and got married and Reese became a cab driver while pursuing his dream of becoming a singer. Coolidge moved to Boston and worked as an orderly at St. Eligius Hospital (AKA St. Elsewhere).
Thomas Carter (James Hayward), Kevin Hooks (Morris Thorpe) and Timothy Van Patten (Mario 'Salami' Pettrino) have worked behind the camera. All three men have directed and/or produced numerous television programs years after 'The White Shadow' ended its run in 1981.
The character of Jackson never graduated from Carver because he was shot and killed by armed robbers holding up a liquor store, as he tried to talk the robbers into giving up. According to writer Marc Rubin, executive producer Bruce Paltrow originally wanted Jackson to be killed while committing the robbery.
Ken Howard was nicknamed "The White Shadow" while he played for Manhasset High School 's basketball team. He was the only white starter on his team. Howard based his performance on his high school basketball coach, Fritz Mueller. Carver's team colors, orange and blue, were based on the the colors of Howard's school, .
This is the first drama on prime-time television with a predominantly African-American cast. It is the third-longest running drama with a predominantly African-American cast in history. Only Soul Food (2000) and The Wire (2002) have had more episodes.