It can’t be denied that basketball is such a big part of our culture these days. From the latest sports news to gear inspired by the game, and everything in between, this isn’t just some matchup between two teams on the court anymore. That’s why it’s not surprising that there are a lot of basketball movies that have transcended to become legends in their own right. Although there have been countless basketball movies out there, only a select few stand out. We take a look below at this list of basketball-centric films inspired by the content over at Movies Anywhere and what makes them truly special.
Top 5 basketball movies of all time
5. Celtic Pride
Written by Judd Apatow back in the 90s, Celtic Pride is one gem that cleverly blends the game of basketball with a heavy dose of comedic fandom. With Daniel Stern’s Mike O’Hara and Dan Aykroyd’s Jimmy Flaherty playing two die-hard fans of the Boston Celtics, the story shows two of the franchise’s fans and how far they would go for their team.
The result is a basketball movie that’s full of twists and turns leading up to a fictional Finals matchup against the Utah Jazz, led by their star player Louis Scott. With the Jazz decimating Boston, it’s up to O’Hara and Flaherty to take Scott out of the game and give their Celtics a clear shot at the title.
With this premise in mind, it won’t be hard for any basketball fanatic to get behind this film and enjoy it in one sitting. And even if the plot is as simple as it gets, it can’t be denied that Celtic Pride captures that undying love and commitment one can have when it comes to the sport and the team you’re rooting for.
4. Space Jam
Keep in mind that when Space Jam came out in the 90s, it was the peak of Michael Jordan’s popularity. Those who caught this basketball movie when they were young are adults right now, which explains the nostalgia behind it. But even if that’s the case, there’s really a lot going for this gem of a film.
For starters, pairing the best basketball player at that time with Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and the rest of the Looney Tunes to go up against an alien squad powered by elite NBA talent of the 90s is a plot no one expected would work. But against all odds, it was a winning formula that resulted in a fun adventure with basketball as that one element tying everything together.
Say what you will but this one starring MJ is the better basketball movie for kids and adults alike. Of course, the successor featuring LeBron James is an entirely different matter altogether. That’s why anyone will love Movies Anywhere and their My List feature as it allows fans, creators, and people from walks of life to create their own list of films according to the genres they love. Even someone as great as director Kevin Smith has made his own list of the movies that made him who he is.
3. White Men Can’t Jump
It’s a given that basketball is one of the few things in life that can bring people from all walks of life together. But while that can be the case, it doesn’t really happen all the time. Take the unlikely pairing of Woody Harrelson’s Billy Hoyle and Wesley Snipes’ Sidney Deane in the 90s’ basketball movie White Men Can’t Jump.
The movie revolves around a friendship between a Caucasian man, one who regularly gets overlooked on the court because of his color, and an African-American who stuck by him through it all. What follows is a basketball movie that sees two individuals from different backgrounds coming together for the love of the game. Add a healthy dose of humor, and basketball junkies will end up with a film that can stand the test of time.
2. Love & Basketball
When people think of basketball films, the first thing they’ll think about is an underdog team defying all the odds and winning that one big game over a better team. This kind of plot isn’t what you’ll get when you see Love & Basketball for the first time.
Starring Omar Epps as Quincy McCall and Sanaa Lathan as Monica Wright, Love & Basketball is about two people from different situations in life who found each other through the said sport. While both characters took distinct paths to playing college ball, both Quincy and Monica clawed their way and became deserving to achieve their dream.
Although at first glance, this film seemed all about basketball, it’s really about these two people enduring the pressure of playing the game they love, getting through college, and finding their place in life. All of these things happen while the pair fall in love and fight their way to make their relationship survive.
In the end, this basketball movie isn’t just about the sport. It’s life unfolding through this game in the eyes of both Quincy and Monica.
1. He Got Game
There have been a lot of attempts to make basketball movies as organic as possible. While most that have been released over the years failed, the same can’t be said about He Got Game.
Starring Ray Allen as Jesus Shuttlesworth, the film revolves around him as a talented high school prospect and his incarcerated father Jake, played by Denzel Washington. The conflict arises from Jake trying to convince his son to play for the state governor’s alma mater in order for his prison sentence to be shortened.
Unlike other basketball movies on this list, He Got Game is layered with drama and emotions that make a compelling story with the father-son relationship as its centerpiece. Allen’s performance was also a revelation, especially for a young NBA player with no acting experience before this film.
Basketball is truly a sport that transcends the court and those who play it. As seen in these films, its impact has spilled over to cinema and the results are amazing. In any case, these five basketball movies are winners as time goes by.