The 72-65 victory over Kentucky in College Park, Maryland is considered one of the most important in the history of college basketball, as it marked the first time that a team with five African-American starters won a title game. The Miners played against the Kentucky Wildcats, a team that had no African-American players during the period of the Civil Rights Movement.
The evolution of basketball from a game played with ash cans on tenement steps by poor immigrant kids, to a global cultural phenomenon is truly metaphoric of the American 20th century. The First Basket examines the incredible growth and globalization of the game, and looks at basketball's tremendous popularity in Israel, where the Tel Aviv Maccabi team won the Euroleague championships in 2004 and 2005. The First Basket concludes by examining the excitement and pride Israelis share in those victories, and looking back at the history of basketball as it relates to the film's subject matter.