10 Best Basketball Movies Ever

With governments taking various steps during the coronavirus pandemic, ranging from urgings to avoid large gatherings to mandatory lockdowns, many people around the world find themselves hunkered down at home.

Typically, being stuck inside would mean an opportunity to watch live sports. But of course, these aren’t typical times. The NBA is on hiatus for the same reason people are being told to keep their distance from each other.

That doesn’t mean there aren’t alternative forms of basketball to consume, though. Over the years, the film industry has given us some pretty solid options in the basketball genre.

We used the Bleacher Report’s article as a source. Movies aren’t sorted from worst to the best. There are 10 best basketball movies ever (according to BR), we believe everyone will have his own favorite from this list.


It will forever be the quintessential Indiana basketball movie. Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) ruffles feathers as Hickory’s new basketball coach instilling the fundamentals of the game. The small farm town’s best player, Jimmy Chitwood, holds out playing but eventually joins the team so long as Dale stays, and the seven-man unit surges towards its 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. Among its many contributions, the movie gave new meaning to carrying measuring tape inside large arenas.

Coach Carter

Considered Remember the Titans on a basketball court, Coach Carter relishes every ounce of Samuel L. Jackson as the dictatorial head coach that takes over an unmotivated team and changes its entire culture with some strict, well-intentioned rules and caustic temperament. 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. Come for Jackson’s burns, stay for Rick Gonzalez quoting Marianne Williamson and softening your heart.

White Men Can’t Jump

Despite the fact that both Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson stand well below six feet, their confidence and trash-talking bravura more than makes up for their height disparity. The pair of Venice Beach hustlers begin as foes and realize the monetary gains to be made off “chumps,” the most insulting street ball diss, who stereotype skin color and must pay for it later. Director Ron Shelton elevates the basketball scenes—on the beach and the playground—with comedic dexterity, while Rosie Perez, playing Harrelson’s girlfriend, is the perfect third wheel to this scheming and entertaining operation. Long live baggy T-shirts and bicycle caps.

He Got Game

This Spike Lee Joint wraps every affliction and temptation for a No. 1 high school basketball prospect into the final week of his college commitment. The inspired choice to cast Ray Allen as Coney Island sensation Jesus Shuttlesworth works its best near the film’s climax during a one-on-one session with his domineering father, Jake (Denzel Washington). The governor has granted him parole from his murder sentence to persuade Jesus to play for Big State University, culling the demons of their family history. It remains a disappointingly relevant movie, showing glimpses of LaVar Ball, corrupted recruiting and the NCAA’s nefarious economic culture.

Love & Basketball

In 1981 in L.A., Monica moves in next door to Quincy. They’re 11, and both want to play in the NBA, just like Quincy’s dad. Their love-hate relationship lasts into high school, with Monica’s edge and Quincy’s top-dog attitude separating them, except when Quincy’s parents argue and he climbs through Monica’s window to sleep on the floor. As high school ends, they come together as a couple, but within a year, with both of them playing ball at USC, Quincy’s relationship with his father takes an ugly turn, and it leads to a break up with Monica. Some years later, their pro careers at a crossroads, they meet again. It’s time for a final game of one-on-one with high stakes.

Glory Road

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. Without recruiting support, he finds seven black players—with little chance to attend college—to fill up his squad. Throughout the Miners’ nearly undefeated season, they experience all kinds of resistance to integration, which comes to a boil when Haskins makes history by starting five African-American players in the National Championship game. Nothing surprises here, and nothing really disappoints, in this competently made retrospective.

Above the Rim

It’s nearly impossible to keep track of how many dunks occur in Above the Rim, a movie that takes its title very seriously. The kind of street ball its high school hotshot protagonist Kyle (Duane Martin) embraces is in opposition to the style his head coach and college scouts want him to play. A glorified ball hog, Kyle gets in too deep with a Harlem drug dealer (a villainous Tupac Shakur), whose older brother (Leon), a former high school star turned security guard, begins dating Kyle’s mother. 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.

Space Jam

Aside from creating an earworm hit song, Space Jam provided the ideal star vehicle for Michael Jordan, whose mythos enhanced with this classic entertainment venture. Mixing animation with some of the game’s biggest stars, the movie teams Jordan up with the Looney Tunes to play a basketball game against supercharged aliens that have taken his NBA peers’ skills hostage. The “MonStars” soon learn they should never challenge a team featuring the greatest of all-time, especially when he has help from Bill Murray, who continues his demon defeating on the hardwood.

The Way Back

Back in high school, Jack Cunningham had everything going for him. A basketball phenom, he could have punched his ticket to college or even the pros, but, instead, he chose to walk away from the game, forfeiting his future. Jack’s glory days are long gone…but, as it turns out, not forgotten. Years later, he gets the chance to take back his life when he is asked to coach the struggling basketball team at his alma mater. Jack reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself, and as the boys start to come together as a team and win, he may get his last shot at redemption.

The Basketball Diaries

The first time he starts to dribble, it’s clear that Leonardo DiCaprio can’t actually play basketball. But this determination doesn’t really matter in The Basketball Diaries, based on poet Jim Carroll’s memoir by the same name. The star status playing on the “hottest Catholic High School basketball team in New York City” burns quickly and brightly for Carroll, who is sexually abused by his coach and submerges into a destructive drug addiction. It’s a bleak depiction of athletic potential wasted. Instead of providing a way out, basketball offers a glimpse of what could have been.

Source: Bleacher Report
Photo: Esquire

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