Best Basketball Movies That You Should Start Watching

Basketball on the big screen isn't always a win, but when it comes to hoops in Hollywood, these films are the genuine MVPs.

Nick Carver

Apr 11, 2022

movie news

Basketball is a really enjoyable sport. Every individual who has ever dribbled a basketball understands the core of the game.

For the casual viewer, the games themselves are frequently thrilling and interesting, but the sport's attraction extends beyond the games themselves. Basketball's popularity has extended to the realm of movies, where it has been featured significantly.

Have you ever played basketball as a kid, pretending to be your favorite player and hitting a game-winning shot as time ran out? In the finest basketball movies, the same kind of wonder and excitement may be found.

High Flying Bird

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It's bordering on cliché to write it now, but it's true: Steven Soderbergh is the maestro of crafting great films in any genre. Soderbergh tackled a sports picture with High Flying Bird after experimenting with horror, stripper humor, and a slew of other genres. But this isn't the narrative you're expecting to hear. The uber-uber-dramatic life of a modern-day sports agent is chronicled in High Flying Bird. High Flying Bird is one of the most true-to-life sports documentaries you'll ever see, thanks to NBA player appearances and André Holland's outstanding performance.

Celtic Pride

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In Celtic Pride, the 1996 comedy co-written by Judd Apatow and Colin Quinn about a pair of Boston die-hards who revere their teams above all else, it's easy to mistake Daniel Stern for a younger Bill Simmons. Mike (Stern) and Jimmy (Dan Akroyd) are desperate for the Celtics to win the Jazz in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, so they intoxicate and abduct Utah's best player, Lewis Scott (Damon Wayans), which has far-reaching consequences. It's a skit in quest of a movie, but it does include Christopher McDonald at his finest as Utah's temperamental coach—at his Happy Gilmore height.

Blue Chips

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Blue Chips is a brilliant depiction of collegiate basketball's faults and ugliness. Coach Pete Bell (played by Nick Nolte) is an old-school football coach who despises the unlawful "booster activities" that take on behind the scenes. As a consequence, he kept his program extremely clean and kept all boosters away from his athletes. As his formerly famed program began to falter, an internal conflict arose between his personal ethics and the temptation of winning at any costs.

Bell's own principles were eventually compromised, and he caved in to the unscrupulous "friends of the program." In effect, he became the very thing he despised: an unfaithful and deceitful coach who succumbed to temptations and strayed from his own morals. In my opinion, this is a really undervalued film that correctly depicts the various forces that may have an affect on a collegiate athletics team. Former NBA stars Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal played two of Coach Bell's players in the film.

Like Mike

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Like Mike, which won an award for having the most NBA cameos in a single film, tells the fantastical story of Calvin Cambridge (Lil' Bow Wow), an orphan who laces up some old sneakers with the faded initials "MJ" and instantly elevates his ball skills to superstar levels, prompting the fictional Los Angeles Knights to sign him. Until Cambridge waxes the floor with perennial All-Stars, this appears to be a marketing trick. In his much-taller teammate (played by Morris Chestnut), he finds the father figure he's always sought, giving this brand-infused, career trampoline situation just enough emotional gravity.

Love and Basketball

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Love and Basketball depicts the intimate bond that two individuals have with one another and with the sport that they both enjoy. Both Quincy "Q" McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) received basketball scholarships at USC, but they are in quite different situations.

"Q" is a highly touted recruit who is the son of a former NBA player. Monica was a late addition to the USC recruiting class and an underappreciated talent who had to work her way up from the junior high level to the collegiate level.

Teen Wolf

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

The whole gymnasium becomes silent for more than a minute. Michael J. Fox has just turned into a werewolf and is now dribbling the basketball in front of astonished teammates and stunned viewers. He finally takes advantage of the situation by rushing down the floor and ending with a slam dunk, turning the shocked surprise into a joyous surprise. Finally, this youngster is able to play! Teen Wolf, as his classmates refer to him, grows up to be a great athlete, ball hog, and small star who tries to control his hair-growing, eye-glowing tendencies. Even if the rationale is absurd, Fox has enough charisma to pull it off—even on a full moon.

White Men Can't Jump

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

White Men Can't Jump is a hilarious comedy about an odd duo of hustlers who "hustle" unsuspecting victims. Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) and Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) team up to win a lot of money in pick-up games all around Los Angeles. The running joke is that everyone who plays basketball against Hoyle assumes he's horrible due of his skin hue.

They had no idea that he was a basketball player in college. Deane recognizes his basketball talent, and the two develop a successful collaboration on the streets of Los Angeles. More than anything, this comedy is about two guys from different origins attempting to make a livelihood who become friends because to basketball. This film has a lot of laughs, and both Harrelson and Snipes play some amazing basketball.

The Basketball Diaries

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

It's evident from the moment Leonardo DiCaprio begins to dribble that he can't genuinely play basketball. However, in The Basketball Diaries, based on poet Jim Carroll's memoir of the same name, this judgment is irrelevant. Carroll's stardom as a member of New York City's "hottest Catholic High School basketball team" fades swiftly and brilliantly as he is sexually molested by his coach and falls into a deadly drug addiction. It's a depressing portrayal of athletic potential squandered. Basketball, rather than giving a route out, provides a glimpse of what may have been.

Coach Carter

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

To be honest, how many times have you touched the top of your head and screamed "Delilah, Delilah" when setting up a play when playing pick-up basketball with a group of your friends? Coach Carter is an engrossing film that embodies the concept of an underdog overcoming adversity on a personal level as well as adversity in the community.

Samuel L. Jackson plays a coach who isn't just interested in basketball, but also in instilling life lessons and emphasizing academics, discipline, and morals in his players. His Richmond squad pulls together and overcomes all of the challenges that each member of the team has, and as a consequence, they become a success.

Coach Carter certainly tugs at your heartstrings, and it's easily one of the finest high school sports movies ever made.

Glory Road

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The film opens with vintage material from different eras. It's the mid-1960s, and things are changing at Texas Western University, where Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) is hired to run the basketball program. He fills his group with seven black guys who have little chance of attending college due to a lack of recruiting help. Throughout the Miners' virtually perfect season, they face a barrage of anti-integration sentiment, which reaches a head in the National Championship game when Haskins makes history by playing five African-American players. In this professionally produced retrospective, nothing shocks, and nothing truly disappoints.

Space Jam

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

What three adjectives would you use to characterize this cinematic masterpiece? This is an all-time classic. Seriously, I'm 22 years old and still enjoy this film. It's on DVD, and I just finished watching it a week ago. Combining the greatest basketball player in history with the Looney Tunes? It's a total slam dunk (no pun intended).

In all seriousness, any youngster will find this film to be a complete delight to watch. I had the advantage of being a child when Space Jam was released, and I adored it.

The unusual mix of cartoons and NBA players (including Michael Jordan, Muggsy Bogues, Shawn Bradley, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, and Larry Johnson) worked very well.

In addition, the soundtrack is fantastic!

Sunset Park

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

Sunset Park is yet another film in the "white savior" genre, telling the story of an unskilled inner-city gym teacher (Rhea Perlman) who takes over her high school's basketball team to make some extra cash. She transforms a brilliant but dysfunctional squad into a generally polished product, connecting with—and bailing out—the team's lovesick point guard (Fredro Starr) and straightening out a drugged-up Terrance Howard throughout the course of the project. The basketball sequences are badly edited, interrupting the flow of an otherwise cliché-ridden, successful season. Try to take pleasure in the small things, like Perlman learning and then teaching a 3-2 zone.

Above the Rim

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

Above the Rim, a film that takes its title extremely literally, makes it practically hard to keep track of how many dunks occur. Kyle (Duane Martin), a high school hotshot, adopts a style of street ball that is diametrically opposed to the manner his head coach and college scouts want him to play. Kyle, a glorified ball hog, gets too involved with a Harlem drug dealer (the evil Tupac Shakur), whose elder brother (Leon), a former high school standout who is now a security officer, begins dating Kyle's mother. The performances, which include cameos from Marlon Wayans and Bernie Mac, add to an unexpected playground tournament climax that is both magnificent and terrifying.

Hoop Dreams

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

The lives of two inner-city teens from Chicago's south side are chronicled in this wonderful documentary. Arthur Agee and William Gates both want to play professional basketball no matter what it takes. One of the players attends a posh private school, creating a contradiction (Gates). The other player (Agee) is unable to afford to continue at the same private school, so he enrolls in his local public high school out of need.

In their quests to become big time basketball stars, each player faced significant challenges (low grades, drug-addict parents, family deaths, catastrophic injuries, etc.). This video brilliantly personifies society's brutal underbelly, depicting the urban class and the significance of basketball in these inner-city areas.

Space Jam 2

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

Space Jam is a fun film, but its immense success has more to do with cultural iconography than with cinematic merit. Michael Jordan was unrivaled in the 1990s, and his retirement shocked not only the basketball world, but the greater American psyche as well. Jordan's retirement, baseball stint, and return to NBA glory gave a chance for Space Jam to leverage on a preexisting tale that would interact directly with the culture of the time, whether due to the loss of his father or false reports of gambling debts. The script lets viewers to create their own story about Jordan's turbulent years away from the game.

Hoosiers

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

It will always be remembered as the ultimate Indiana basketball film. As Hickory's new basketball coach, Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) ruffles feathers by imparting the principles of the game. Jimmy Chitwood, the best player in the small farm town, initially refuses to play but eventually joins the team as long as Dale stays, and the seven-man unit surges towards its championship goals. The Hoosiers established the standard for the traditional motivating speech—if you play hard, you'll win no matter what the scoreboard says—followed by a locker room power clap that can be seen on video boards at every major sports stadium. Among its numerous innovations, the film redefined the use of measuring tape within enormous venues.

He Got Game

basketball, sports, michael jordan, space jam, lebron james

He Got Game is the most naturalistic basketball movie ever filmed. I had the impression I was watching a documentary at times, which adds to the great depth and naturalness portrayed on screen.

Jesus Shuttlesworth (Allen) is a highly renowned high school basketball prodigy, and his father Jake (Washington) is a jailed man who is granted one week to persuade his estranged son to attend the state governor's alma mater in return for a reduced prison term.

Jesus' passion for basketball was fostered in part by Jake, a former player. The picture was filled with layers of emotion, and Allen's performance is remarkable considering he had no prior acting training. He and Washington both performed admirably in the picture.

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