Top 10 Basketball Films of all-time
Unfortunately, basketball films of the past decade are a mere mockery of those that preceded them. Did you know Kevin Durant starred in a Space Jam rip-off last December? I didn’t, but reading its plot summary made me miss the basketball classics we all know and love. Here is my list of the top 10 basketball films of all-time.
10) Like Mike
Perhaps the peak of Bow Wow’s critically acclaimed acting career. Even better than his work in Roll Bounce and Fast and Furious Tokyo Drift. Far from the best basketball film, but entertaining enough to make the list.
Plot: A 14-year-old orphan finds an old pair of gym shoes with the initials MJ in them. These shoes transform him into an NBA star.
Stars: Bow Wow cameos from: Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, Tracy McGrady, and Allen Iverson
9) Blue Chips
Nick Nolte’s pearly white morality is tested in this 1994 classic about college basketball recruiting.
Plot: To keep his job and stay competitive with the country’s top programs Pete Bell (Nolte) starts illegally paying his athletes. When Western University takes down #1 ranked Indiana University Bell cannot bare the guilt and comes clean.
Stars: Nick Nolte, Shaquille O’neal, Mary McDonnell, and Penny Hardaway
This comedy didn’t get the best reviews, but has a couple of rememorable scenes.
Plot: Player-Coach-Owner Jackie Moon tries to bring his ABA team into the NBA through a series of ridiculous publicity stunts.
Stars: Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, and Andre Benjamin
7) Basketball Diaries
Plot: This film profiles a high school basketball player’s downfall into a world of drugs and addiction. His dreams of becoming a basketball star take a back seat to his life of crime. Eventually an old friend helps Jim begin his long road back to normalcy.
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Lorraine Bracco
6) Hoop Dreams
Plot: This documentary filmed in Chicago profiles two of the cities top high school basketball players. When William Gates and Arthur Agee, two lower class African Americans, are recruited to play at a predominantly white high school they face many racial, class and social barriers.
Stars: William Gates and Arthur Agee
5) Finding Forrester
This isn’t your classic “basketball” movie, but the sport plays an important role in the plot, including the movie’s most memorable scene.
Plot: Jamal Wallace, a 16-year-old African American basketball player, befriends a reclusive old writer (Sean Connery). The teenager faces an identity crisis between his natural athletic talents and desire to become a writer.
Stars: Sean Connery, Rob Brown, and Matt Damon
4) White Men Can’t Jump
This box office hit made more than $90 million. While poking fun at some basketball stereotypes, this comedy/drama got great reviews.
Plot: Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes team up to make the perfect hustling team. Woody’s whiteness and Wesley’s swagger help them make a killing on the streetball courts of Venice Beach.
Stars: Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes, and Rosie Perez
3) Coach Carter
This 2005 film is the newest one of the list.
Plot: Based on the true story of the 1999 Richmond High School Basketball team, this film portrays the complicated lives of high school basketball players in inner-city California. Coach Carter (Jackson) demands discipline from his players and teaches them the value of education.
Stars: Samuel L. Jackson, Ashanti, and Rob Brown
2) Space Jam
This movie has everything a kid in the 1990’s would ever need. The Looney Tunes team up with the NBA’s finest to create this timeless classic.
Plot: MJ agrees to compete with the Looney Tunes basketball team in their face-off against the Monstars. With the stolen talent of Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues, and Shawn Bradly, the Monstars put up a good fight, but Bugs and MJ restore order in the 3-D universe with a last second victory.
Stars: Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, and Bill Murray
No shocker here. Hoosiers is basketball’s Field of Dreams. Based in a state where basketball is God, this films shows how much the sport can affect a community.
Plot: This original underdog story takes place in rural Indiana. A new coach with a spotty past leads an undersized team to a state championship. While on their championship run, the coach assumes a leadership role throughout the entire community.
Stars: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, and Dennis Hopper