There are a lot of basketball movies that have been made by Hollywood and independent filmmakers over the years. Some of them are instant classics. Others… not so much. Here is my list of the best basketball movies of all time.
This was one of the first movies I ever watched and it inspired me to get into playing basketball in the first place. I also grew up in a small Midwestern town and our school was small enough that you could pretty much play any sport you wanted, no matter what. This movie showed us that the underdog really can conquer Goliath – and the best part is that this movie is based on a true story.
#2. White Men Can’t Jump
First of all, there’s the gear from the early 90s. Those were the days to play basketball on the street. A crazy visor, bleached air, and shorts that looked like Daisy Dukes. Good stuff. This movie has the hustler, the redemptive qualities, and the drama of a massive alley-oop at the end for all the bucks.
This is a movie for those who want straight-up laughs. Following the final season of the ill-fated American Basketball Association, it follows the journey of a small-market team trying to make their way into the NBA.
#4. He Got Game
This Spike Lee film looks at the pressures of what it takes to be a top basketball star in the modern American society. There’s also the storyline of a father and son trying to repair a relationship while they focus on their own lives. Best of all, this film stars Ray Allen, who would go on to enjoy a lot of fame in the NBA.
#5. Love and Basketball
It’s another Ray Allen film. This one is about the challenges of gender in basketball, as the two lead characters have a relationship with each other while pursuing a professional career. She leaves for overseas leagues because there’s no WNBA at the time. He struggles to make a name for himself. How does love manage to survive in such tumultuous times?
#6. Space Jam
To be honest, I hated this movie when it first came out. It was like a giant Michael Jordan advertisement to help him come back from that terrible year of minor league baseball in 1994 when he hit just .202. After having kids of my own, however, I’ve grown to appreciate some of the very subtle humor of this movie. The scene on the golfing green makes me laugh every single time.
#7. The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh
This is probably the basketball movie you haven’t watched. It follows the story of a terrible basketball team on a continuous losing streak, becoming the laughing-stock of the town. Players want to be traded. Julius Erving is the star player on the team and he’s a difficult teammate for sure. So how do they fix the problem? They recruit players that are Pisces to help their star player. Harry Shearer, Debbie Allen, and Stockard Channing all had roles in the film.
The best basketball movies of all time is always a subjective list. These are mine… what are yours?