Men`s health There have been many great fictional basketball players in the great film pantheon. Air Bud? Pup is a better on-ball defender that Kawhi. Or Foghorn Leghorn? Foghorn Leghorn is a great choice. Jesus Shuttleworth is also available. You know well that you shouldn’t get in his way.
In honor of all the great Hollywood hoopers we put together a list the top basketball movies. There are the classics like Hoosiers and Love & Basketball and White Men Can’t Jump, but there’s also some recent favorites that are a bit more basketball-adjacent. See Uncut gems . You can’t have the greatest basketball movies without paying tribute to Michael Jordan. Not to start a whole other debate until we get to the actual debate, but you gotta respect the GOAT at all times.
Below, find the 20 best basketball movies of all time. This list will allow you to enjoy March Madness even if your bracket is full.
It’s easy to mistake Daniel Stern for a younger Bill Simmons in Celtic Pride, the 1996 comedy co-written by Judd Apatow and Colin Quinn about a pair of Boston die-hards that worship their teams above, well, everything else. In an attempt to get the Celtics to beat Utah in Game 7, Jimmy (Dan Akroyd), and Mike (Stern), intoxicate and kidnap Utah’s best player, Lewis Scott, which has inevitably bigger implications than the outcome of a basketball match. It’s a sketch in search of a movie, but it does give us peak Christopher McDonald–at his Happy Gilmore height–playing Utah’s capricious coach.
Winning an award for the most NBA cameos in a single movie, Like Mike tells of the amazing story of Calvin Cambridge (Lil’ Bow Wow), an orphan whose ball skills immediately rise to superstar level, prompting the Los Angeles Knights fictional to sign him. It looks like a marketing stunt until Cambridge takes to the court with the perennial All-Stars. This brand-infused career trampoline situation has enough emotional weight that he finds the father figure he long sought in his taller teammate, Morris Chestnut.
The entire gymnasium is quiet for more than one minute. Michael J. Michael J. He sprints down the court, finishing with a slam-dunk. The shocked shock soon turns into a pleasant surprise. This kid can play basketball again! This movie is not good at portraying basketball. But Teen Wolf, his classmates call him, becomes an amazing athlete and ball hog. Although the logic is absurd, Fox manages to pull it off with enough charm–even at full moon.
Look past all of Air Bud‘s kids-movie antics. Air Bud is often made out to be a better grade-school hooper than you. Please, just forget about all the clown stuff. What do you have left? This is a story about a boy with a dog. Someday, Air Bud will move past its place in ’90s-kid canon and into the actual great-movie echelon. Don’t forget Buddy, our dog. We dare you to not cry at the scene with the pudding.
The Basketball Diaries
The first time Leonardo DiCaprio starts to dribble it becomes clear that he can’t play basketball. This determination is not important in The Basketball Diaries ,, based on Jim Carroll’s memoir. Carroll is a star player on the “hottest Catholic High School Basketball team in New York City”. However, he is sexually abused and relapses into a destructive drug addiction. It is a sad story of athletic potential lost. Basketball offers hope for the future, but it doesn’t offer a way out.
Sunset Park tells the story of an inept inner-city gym teacher (Rhea Perlman) who takes over her high school’s basketball team to make some extra money. She transforms a dysfunctional but talented group into a polished product. She bonds with Fredro Starr, the team’s loveable point guard, and helps Terrance Howard get clean. Poor editing of basketball scenes disrupts the flow of a winning season that is otherwise full of clichés. Enjoy the small things like Perlman learning and then teaching in a 3-2 zone.
High Flying Bird
It borders cliche to write it at this point, but it really is true: Steven Soderbergh really is the master of making a stellar film in any genre. After trying his hand at horror and stripper comedy, Soderbergh decided to make a sports movie in High Flying Bird . It’s not what you would expect. High Flying Bird follows the dramatic life of a modern sports agent. With NBA player cameos and Andre Holland‘s spectacular performance, High Flying Bird is one of the most true-to-life sports films you’ll ever come across.
If you learned basketball from watching movies, you would believe that New York City has the most talent college coaches have neglected to recruit. Fast break doubles the impact of this premise. In it, Gabe Kaplan (a delicatessen owner) achieves his dream to coach basketball by accepting a position at a small college in Nevada. He leaves his wife behind and heads west to find a few inner-city children he wants him to give another chance. He works tirelessly to solve his team’s problems and reach the big game against Nevada State. The movie is refreshingly steadfast on the court, without ever straying far from the casino.
Rebound – The Legend of Earl “The Goat “
At the beginning of Rebound, a reporter asks Kareem Abdul-Jabar which player was the greatest he’d ever seen. Earl Manigault (aka “The Goat”) is his answer. This HBO biopic stars Don Cheadle and chronicles the rise, fall and redemption of the Harlem playground hero. Manigault, an elite guard and a prolific jumper, loses his chance at college and falls into drug addiction. Whitaker, a local sanitation worker, sees the potential in Manigault. Although his reemergence as an important part of New York’s legacy is not shown in the movie, it remains significant.
Above The Rim
It is nearly impossible to keep track how many dunks take place in Above The Rim , a movie that takes its title seriously. His high school star Kyle (Duane Mart) is not playing the type of street basketball his college coaches and scouts expect him to. Kyle, a glorified ball hog, gets too involved with a Harlem drug dealer (a villainous Tupac Shakur), and his older brother Leon (a former high school star who became a security guard), begins to date Kyle’s mom. The performances–including small roles for Marlon Wayans and Bernie Mac–give extra weight to an unpredictable playground tournament finale that is wonderful and frightening at the same time.
Aside from being an earworm hit, Space Jam was the perfect vehicle for Michael Jordan’s star vehicle. His legendos has been enhanced by this classic entertainment venture. The movie features Jordan and the Looney Tunes teaming up to play a game against aliens who have hijacked his NBA peers’ skills. The “MonStars”, who are soon to learn that they shouldn’t challenge the best of all-time teams, have Bill Murray as their support, and continue their demon defeating on court.
Cornbread and Earl, and Me
A heavy rainstorm sets the scene for a misunderstood murder, making a basketball-inspired story into a depressing courtroom drama. Jamaal Wilkes plays Nathanial “Cornbread”, a big brother to Wilfred (Lawrence Fishburne), and Earl (Tierre Turn). But, just weeks before he leaves for college, he is tragically shot to death by police who mistake him for a criminal. More than 40 years later, the movie remains sadly pertinent to today and a young Fishburne’s stirring testimony in the final scene is a moving reminder of what kind of actor he’d become.
How could a Bronx-based black basketball player be the best writer at a Manhattan elite private school? This might be Gus Van Sant’s spiritual New York sequel Good Will Hunting ,, challenging stereotypes and reminding readers not to judge books by the covers. Jamal (Rob Brown), the phenom in question, strikes up an unlikely friendship with a famous Scottish novelist turned recluse (Sean Connery), who becomes a prickly mentor to the 16-year old. Jamal is an athletic kid who carries a basketball almost every scene. But the climax switches the court to the classroom where it becomes clear that he has a Pulitzer in his future.
Let’s be clear: Uncut gems is a basketball movie. The Safdie Brothers, a team of Kings fans and directors, say that the Sandler outing is a sports movie. Uncut Jewels is an amazing trip. Sandler portrays a jeweler who is determined to gamble a large sum of money on a Celtics match. Chaos, sex, guns, drugs ensue. Kevin Garnett plays Kevin Garnett. This would have been Oscar-worthy if Garnett had been given more screen time. Uncut gems won’t give you the feeling of playing a basketball game. It will make you feel like you’ve just won a lottery.
Glory Road begins with archival footage of changing times. It’s the mid-1960s and indeed, times are changing at Texas Western University, where Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) shows up to take over the basketball program. He finds seven black players to fill his team, but they have little opportunity to go college. Despite the Miners’ almost undefeated season they encounter resistance to integration. This boils when Haskins starts five African-American players at the National Championship game. This competently produced retrospective contains nothing surprising and absolutely no disappointments.
Considered Remember how the Titans played on a basketball court? Coach Carter loves every bit of Samuel L. Jackson, the dictatorial head coach who takes control of an inept team and alters its culture through some hard-intentioned rules. Based off the real Ken Carter, who famously locked out his 1999 Richmond High School team from playing until its grades improved, the movie embraces the tension of winning expectations and academic integrity. Jackson’s burns are on the screen, but Rick Gonzalez will be softening your heart.
It’ll always be the best Indiana basketball movie. Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), Hickory’s new basketball coach, teaches the basics of the game. Jimmy Chitwood, the best player from a small farming community, is unable to play but eventually joins the team. The seven-man team surges towards their championship goals. Hoosiers set the blueprint for the classic motivational speech–if you play hard, you’re winners, regardless of the scoreboard–followed by a locker room power clap featured on video boards across every professional sports venue. The movie was one of many that gave new meaning and purpose to measuring tape in large arenas.
He Got Game
This Spike Lee Joint covers every temptation and affliction for a No. The final week of his college commitment will see him as the No. 1 high school basketball prospect. Ray Allen was cast as Coney Island’s sensation Jesus Shuttlesworth. The film’s climax is near when Ray Allen meets his domineering father Jake (Denzel Washington). To persuade Jesus to join Big State University and rid their family of the sins of their past, the governor granted him parole from his murder sentence. It is still a relevant movie that shows glimpses of LaVar ball, corrupted recruitment, and the NCAA’s evil economic culture.
Love and Basketball
” All is fair in basketball and love” is perhaps the most recognizable line in Gina Prince-Blythewood’s directorial debut. The classic courtship between Monica (Sanaa) and Quincy, played by Omar Epps, begins on the asphalt. Here flirtation and feelings are expressed through one-on-one matches. The movie shows how the couple negotiate their relationship and strive for professional and personal success. Love and Basketball don’t focus on the final shot or the big game. It is more concerned about the lessons learned long before the buzzer goes off.
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White Men can’t jump
Despite being below six feet tall, Wesley Snipes as well as Woody Harrelson are more confident than their height. They begin as enemies and soon realize that they can make a lot of money off “chumps”, the most offensive street ball diss. With comedic dexterity and a perfect third wheel, Rosie Perez plays Harrelson’s girlfriend. Director Ron Shelton elevates basketball scenes on the beach and in the playground. Baggy T-shirts, and bike caps are still in fashion.
Jake Kring-Schreifels is a sports and entertainment writer based in Washington, D.C.
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