January 31, 2005 12:00 PM

Ken Carter, 45, who benched his undefeated ’99 Richmond (Calif.) High School team for having poor grades, gets big-screen treatment in Coach Carter, starring Samuel L. Jackson.

CALLING A TIME-OUT Carter’s squad was headed toward a state championship when he padlocked the gym—and forfeited two games—because seven of his players were failing classes. The team was forced to hit the books. “Everybody won,” says Carter. The sweetest victory: The team’s seniors all scored college acceptance letters.

HALL OF FAME When Carter found out Jackson would play him in Coach, it was “an out-of-body experience,” Carter says. “I had to pinch myself.”

COACHING 101 Carter spent four months with Jackson attending high school games and offering tips. His advice? “You have to scream,” he says. “[And] be respectful of the other team. I’m not saying you have to hug, but always remain composed.”

SLAM DUNK Carter retired two years ago and is now a motivational speaker. He also coaches adults in the new extreme sport SlamBall. “It’s a human video game,” he says. “It combines football, hockey and wrestling. You have to be fearless.”

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