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Samuel L. Jackson, Wynton Marsalis and Chris Paul to Narrate “Black Magic” on ESPN March 2008

Friday, November 30, 2007 , Posted by Christopher Byrne at 4:48 PM, under , , , ,

Bristol, CT (Nov. 29, 2007) - ESPN, in collaboration with award-winning filmmaker Dan Klores (The Boys of Second Street Park, Viva Baseball, Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story and Crazy Love), has announced that Academy Award Nominated actor Samuel L. Jackson, jazz great Wynton Marsalis, and New Orleans Hornets star point guard Chris Paul will narrate the upcoming film event, “Black Magic.” The commercial free, two-part four-hour film will be televised in primetime Sunday and Monday, March 16 and 17 at 9 p.m. ET on ESPN. Part One will air immediately following the network’s ESPNU Bracketology show (analyzing the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament selections), and Part Two will be televised after the network’s exclusive live announcement of the 64-team NCAA Women's Tournament on Selection Monday.

Directed by Klores and Co-produced by Klores and basketball legend and Winston-Salem State University graduate Earl “The Pearl” Monroe, “Black Magic” tells the story of the injustice which characterized the Civil Rights Movement in America, as told through the lives of basketball players and coaches who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The film will receive extensive support across a variety of ESPN networks and media platforms with more details to be released in the coming months.

“This is a story that must be told. There is no better time to share it with our viewers than in the thick of college basketball’s biggest month,” said Keith Clinkscales, ESPN senior vice president, content development and enterprises. “As sports fans prepare to witness the year’s best college basketball players and teams in action, ‘Black Magic’ will present them with an unforgettable journey back to the players, coaches and schools that shaped the game, and in great part, society, as they know it today.” Klores said: “’Black Magic’ is about injustice, refuge and joy. It's a story I have been yearning to tell for a long time... a story of exclusion and therefore invention. The film exposes a system characterized by quota systems, the blacklisting of players, the murder of innocent children, the pride of attending an HBCU, the psychological effects of desegregation and the long-term debates surrounding integration. I have met so many men who share a beauty, courage and dignity, that I feel very, very blessed."

About “Black Magic”

From more than 200 hours of interviews and footage, the film reveals the plight of HBCU players and coaches as a stark but proud one, filled with obstacles at every turn. From separate leagues and facilities, to championship games and titles that never qualified for the history books, all the way to secret games played between blacks and whites in defiance of the law, players and programs at HBCUs not only thrived, but laid the groundwork for the proliferation of the modern athlete. Klores interviews with Willis Reed, Avery Johnson, Ben Wallace, Charles Oakley, John Chaney, Bob Love, Al Attles, Pee Wee Kirkland, Earl Lloyd, Dick Barnett, Woody Sauldsberry, Bob Dandridge, Sonny Hill, Perry Wallace, Dave Robbins, Harold Hunter, Donnie Walsh, Cleo Hill, Ernie Brown, Bobby Cremins, Howie Evans, historians Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Dr. Cleveland Sellers, Dr. Milton Katz and the widows of Clarence “Big House” Gaines and John McLendon, amongst others.

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