When Disney Channel announced it optioned for a film about Little League champ and memoirist Mo’ne Davis, we were beyond excited about it! The film, tentatively titled Throw Like Mo, will be based on Davis’ journey as a little girl with dreams of playing baseball and how she helped the Philadelphia Taney Dragons win the U.S. Little League World Series in 2014. The then 13-year-old also became the first female pitcher to win LLWS championship.
Davis’ rise as a leading role model for young girls continues the legacy of Black female athletes, so her film will be in great company! Until her film’s release, we’re keeping patient by watching these similar films and biopics that channel our inner athletic chick such as The Gabby Douglas Story,The Longshots and Run of a Dream: The Gail Devers Story.
The Gabby Douglas Story
At sixteen, Douglas was already a gold medalist, as a member of the U.S. team at the 2011 World Artistic Gymnastics Championships, but at seventeen, she made gymnastic history when she won the gold medals in the Individual All-around and Team competitions at the 2012 London Olympics.
She was the first Black woman to win the former and the first American to win both aforementioned titles in the same year. Later that September, she performed with Alicia Keys and Nicki Minaj at the MTV VMAs, where Minaj dropped a nice shout out to Gabby’s victory: “I got ’em aggy, ’cause I won the gold like Gabby.”
For her biopic, The Gabby Douglas Story, which aired on the first day of Black History Month, Douglas was played by Imani Hakim and her mother Natalie by one of our faves, Regina King. It showed when the Virginia native aspired to be a gymnast and that to learn from Liang Chow, one of the best coaches in the game, she had to move to Iowa for months at a time. It was tough for the close-knit mother and daughter to be separated, but Douglas was following her dreams of Olympic gold.
At 11-years-old in 2003, Jasmine Plummer was both the first Black girl and first girl quarterback to play in the Pop Warner youth tournament, which is the junior sports version of the Super Bowl. But before Pop Warner, Plummer was a loner with just a quiet interest in playing in sports. Her uncle Curtis, a former football talent himself, soon became her mentor and when he became the coach of the struggling Harvey Colts junior team, Plummer also joined as their first and only girl player. The rest is kids sports history.
The Plummer story was made into a feature film, titled The Longshots starring Keke Palmer as Jasmine and Ice Cube as Curtis. It’s one of those inspiring, you just might shed a tear sports flicks and a fun fact is that Limp Bizkit’s Fred Durst directed it.
Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story
Gail Devers was already a respected talent in track and field by 1990, but that same year, she was sadly diagnosed with Graves’ diseases after suffering from extreme migraines and vision impairment two years before. In ’90, she underwent radioactive iodine treatment and thyroid hormone replacement therapy. Yet the procedures were so painful for the runner that she could barely walk and her legs and feet were completely locked or parts swollen.
But Devers came back strong and in 1992, the Seattle, Washington native earned a gold medal at the Olympic games and two more in 1996. She continued to win gold and silver accolades from around the world until she retired.
In 1996, HBO aired the TV movie Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story starring Charlayne Woodard as Devers and Oscar winner Louis Gossett, Jr. as her coach Bob Kersee (yes, the husband of Jackie Joyner).
Now after watching these films, you’ll be just as excited as we are to watch Throw Like Mo when this anticipated film premieres on the Disney Channel! Ya Mo’ne!