The NBA playoff season is heating up with the Miami Heat looking to three-peat against San Antonio Spurs. In honor of this exciting time of year, we take a look at some of our favorite basketball movies.
1. He Got Game
Spike Lee and Denzel Washington have collaborated on several films together including his 1997 film He Got Game. Washington played Jake Shuttleworth, a prison inmate and the father of the country’s top high school basketball star who was granted a one-week parole release to convince his son to play for the governor’s alma mater. Real life NBA player Ray Allen made his debut into film as the star player Jesus Shuttleworth but he wasn’t the only hoops star cast in the movie. Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Reggie Miller, Rick Fox, Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and Bill Walton also appeared in the film.
2. Love & Basketball
In 2000, Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan played Quincy McCall and Monica Wright, childhood friends turned lovers who had one thing in common: their love for basketball. Love & Basketball chronicled their relationship, which began as next-door neighbors while still in middle school. Top players at their respective high schools, McCall and Wright eventually found true love with each other, but while attending the same college their relationship went through a rough patch and they broke up as he headed to the NBA. It was a career-ending injury for McCall that finally brought the two back together. He was all too happy to cheer for Wright as she played for the WNBA.
3. White Men Can’t Jump
In a sport that’s dominated by Black men, Woody Harrelson proved that race doesn’t matter in White Men Can’t Jump. The 1992 film followed street ball hustler Sidney Deane, played by Wesley Snipes, who was outhustled on the court by Harrelson’s Billy Hoyle because he underestimated his skills solely based on his skin color. The two teamed up together to hustle other players and along the way a true friendship was forged. Rosie Perez and Kadeem Hardison also star in this sports buddy comedy.
4. Coach Carter
Sometime there are more important things to a high school basketball coach than an undefeated record. For Coach Carter, played by Samuel L. Jackson, it was passing grades for his players. The real life coach made headlines in 1999 when he benched his entire team due to poor academic results and his unprecedented move was the inspiration behind the 2005 film Coach Carter. He taught his team a very valuable lesson by showing his students that there were more important things than winning.
5. Above The Rim
Tupac Shakur snagged his first starring role in the 1992 film Juice where he was a teenager intent on being the man even if he had to kill his own friend, but in Above the Rim he was definitely the bad guy. Duane Martin played high school basketball star Kyle who was on his way to play at Georgetown University with a full ride but he gets caught up in a playground basketball tournament. Kyle is torn between playing for Shakur’s Birdie or former basketball star turned security guard Shep (Leon Robinson). Marlon Wayans, Bernie Mac and Wood Harris round out the cast.
6. Sunset Park
Phyliss Saroka was looking to earn some extra cash to open her own restaurant but taking the job at a high school in the hood helped her find her true calling in life. In Sunset Park, Rhea Perlman plays a P.E. teacher hired to coach a high school basketball team from the mean streets of Sunset Park, Brooklyn. Like a fish out of water, Coach Saroka started out way over her head. But after settling into the job, some of the players on the team help her pick up the sport and soon the team found themselves on a winning streak. Despite their differences and troubles, Coach Saroka and her team made headlines by battling for the city championship.
The 1986 film Hoosiers was loosely based on the Milan high school team in Indiana that won the 1954 state championship. Basketball is taken very seriously in this town and everyone had their doubts with Coach Dale, especially after he hired the town drunk (Dennis Hopper) as his assistant coach. The team worked their way to the state finals where they’re faced with a bigger and more athletic team, but against all odds, Coach Dale’s team walked away with the victory. Hopper earned an Oscar nomination for his role in Hoosiers.
8. Space Jam
Chicago Bulls superstar Michael Jordan retied from basketball only to suit up again to play with the Washington Wizards. But in the live action, animated sports film Space Jam, his return to the sport he loved was inspired by Bugs Bunny and pals. Jordan’s services were recruited by the Looney Tunes to beat their archrivals, the Nerdlucks, after they stole the talents and skills from Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, Charles Barkley and Shawn Bradley. Despite mixed reviews, Jordan and Space Jam cleaned up at the box office. The 1996 film grossed over $230 million worldwide.
9. Juwanna Mann
Even though he was banned from the sport that he loved, Jamal Jeffries just couldn’t stay away from basketball. In the 2002 film Juwanna Mann, Miguel A. Nunez starring as Jeffries decided to dress as a female, went by the name Juwanna Mann and joined the women’s basketball league. In addition to playing the sport he loves once more, he fell in love with his teammate played by Vivica A. Fox. Despite his best efforts to keep his true identity under wraps, Jeffries outted himself during a championship game. Tommy Davidson, Kim Wayans, Kevin Pollak and Lil Kim round out the cast.
Funny man Will Ferrell took on the sport of racecar driving in Talladega Nights and the world of ice-skating in Blades of Glory, so it was only right that he suited up as an eccentric basketball player in Semi-Pro. Ferrell is former disco singer turned basketball team owner, player and coach of the Flint Tropics, Jackie Moon, who is faced with the task of turning the losing season around as well as increasing attendance in hopes of having his team join the NBA. In order to drum up more fans, Moon resorted to staging elaborate stunts at the games including wrestling a bear. Will Arnett, Andre ‘3000’ Benjamin, Woody Harrelson and Andy Richter round out the cast.
11. Like Mike
When he was younger Bow Wow starred in the film Like Mike as a a 13-year-old orphan who was miraculously given super basketball powers during a freak accident with a bolt of lightning and an old pair of Michael Jordan’s sneakers. The 2002 film included an all-star cast of basketball superstars including Shaquille O’Neal, Vince Carter, Allen Iverson, Alzono Mourning, Chris Webber, Jason Kidd, David Robinson and Tracy McGrady.
12. The Sixth Man
In The Sixth Man, brothers Antoine and Kenny Tyler played college basketball together at the University of Washington and lead their team in scoring until Antoine had a heart attack on the court and died on the way to the hospital. The team along with his brother Kenny, played by Marlon Wayans, took his death pretty hard and they started to unravel on the court until Antoine’s spirit is the unseen sixth man who helped the team win once more. Kenny was the only one that actually saw his brother (Kadeem Hardison) and he convinced the rest of the team that it was Antoine helping them find their winning streak again. However, Kenny asked his brother to stop helping and, having faith in himself, hit the winning shot during the championship game.
13. Blue Chips
Shaquille O’Neal has starred in numerous films but none as great as the 1994 film Blue Chips. Nick Nolte played the overbearing coach Pete Bell at a school that is losing prospective players to other schools who are willing to pay them under the table. Finally the team recruits some new talent in the form of real NBA players O’Neal and Penny Hardaway. The team started to win but a sports reporter suspects scandal and after winning a big game, Coach Bell decided to fess up and clean during a press conference. Bob Knight, Dick Vitale, Rick Pitino, Larry Bird and Allan Houston are other basketball notables that round out the cast.
14. The Air Up There
Assistant basketball coach Jimmy Dolan, played by Kevin Bacon, desperately wanted the job as head coach so bad he’s willing to fly halfway across the world to find the next basketball phenom in The Air Up There. After watching a home video of an African player named Saleh, Dolan traveled to his country to find him. Dolan struggled to adapt to the culture and was faced with new challenges when Saleh’s father refused to let his son play. A friendship was forged between the coach and player and they wound up teaching each other valuable life lessons. Saleh’s father, who was also the village leader, allowed his son to travel to the U.S. to play ball.
15. Finding Forrester
In Finding Forrester, 16-year-old Black teenager Jamal Wallace attends a prestigious high school and is given a free ride for his academia and his basketball skills. By chance Wallace befriends a reclusive writer that would help change his life. Legendary actor Sean Connery plays the cantankerous William Forrester in the 2000 film who, begrudgingly, helps the young writer work on his natural talent. Busta Rhymes and Matt Damon also star in this film.
i just remembered yesterday’s game. the in-your-face dunk of bozeman against ali.
antagal ng PBA!!!! (sorry i’m bored)