There are a lot of great basketball movies that have been made and it can often be hard to narrow it down to some of the best. We have seen movies made about real life coaches, fictional players that have become well-known in pop culture, and even some classic family films that can appeal to anyone.
Various basketball movies have gained great attention and while some have even been deserving of awards, others seem to go fairly unnoticed, even with famous actors in them.
Here is a list of 10 best basketball movies to check out if you have not seen them already, and, of course, they are all worth revisiting even if you have seen them.
10. Air Bud (1997)
Sure, Air Bud may not be the go-to movie for every basketball fan after they leave their childhood or don’t have kids to watch it with, but like any great family film, it is a good story that we can all relate to. It features the strong bond that happens between a young boy and his dog and like we can all only hope for in reality, that his dog ends up becoming a star for the boy’s basketball team. There were several sequels made featuring the golden retriever athlete playing other sports as well, but the original will always be the best.
9. Hoosiers (1986)
Hoosiers, given the name, tells the story of a team located in Indiana. Gene Hackman plays the coach of a high school basketball team and it is widely considered one of the best, if not the best, basketball movie ever made. It was even nominated for two Oscars and that is certainly saying something about a sports movie, which almost never happens. In addition to Hackman, the film co-starred Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper.
8. Coach Carter (2005)
Coach Carter is one of the best spotlights on the relationship between a coach and his players and it also happens to be a true story. It tells the story of Ken Carter, a high school coach in Richmond, California. He was a coach who wanted his players to excel both on the court and in the classroom and faced some controversy when he benched his entire team due to breaking their academic contract that he made them agree to. Samuel L. Jackson stars as Coach Carter and Rob Brown, who has been featured in several other sports movies as well.
7. Glory Road (2006)
Glory Road tells perhaps one of the best and most well-known Cinderella stories in the history of the sport. The film focuses on Texas Western, a team that was comprised of the first all-black starting lineup in college basketball. The incredible story took place in 1966 and fans saw the unlikely team make it to the national championship. The film shows the struggles they went through on their road to face Kentucky in the championship. Coach Don Haskins was played by Josh Lucas and the cast also featured Derek Luke, Jon Voight, and Emily Deschanel.
6. Finding Forrester (2000)
Finding Forrester is not your typical sports movie that focuses on an underdog team winning a championship, but it is an incredible story that shows one players’ transition to his true passion in life, becoming a writer. It is still considered a basketball movie and features a green on-screen pairing of Sean Connery and Rob Brown, with Connery playing a reclusive author who mentors the young player and writer. In addition, the cast features Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham, and Michael Pitt in a must-see film for anyone.
5. The Basketball Diaries (1995)
The Basketball Diaries is a great story that centers on two young basketball players, and if it were released at another time, perhaps it would have been a lot bigger. The reason for this is because it stars both Mark Wahlberg and Leonardo DiCaprio, two actors both deserving of Oscars, but have never received one. DiCaprio plays Jim Carroll, a young basketball player who was a member of an unbeatable high school basketball team, but soon found himself wrapped up in a world of drug addiction. It was based on the autobiographical work by Carroll and it also starred Juliette Lewis and Lorraine Bracco.
4. Space Jam (1996)
Space Jam deserves mentioning in any list of basketball movies, even if it is mostly animated. It has been discussed by NBA analysts at times and used throughout memes and had some of the biggest stars in the history of NBA, most notably Michael Jordan. In the film, the NBA legend is recruited in order to help the Looney Tunes win a basketball game against an alien race in order to gain their freedom. The film’s soundtrack was also a huge hit and featured other NBA legends such as Larry Bird, Larry Johnson, Patrick Ewing, and Charles Barkley.
3. Eddie (1996)
Eddie is a sports comedy but does tend to lean heavier on the sports side of things, unlike something like Jerry Maguire. IT follows a New York limo driver who is also a fanatical follower of the New York Knicks. When the team is struggling with a mediocre record, the new owner brings in Eddie as an assistant coach. What starts out as a publicity stunt turns into a comedic success and the film stars Whoopi Goldberg as Eddie with Frank Langella, Dennis Farina and Richard Jenkins also in the cast.
2. Blue Chips (1994)
Blue Chips is not as well known as some of the others but given the cast and story, some people would certainly argue that it should be. It centers around college basketball coach Pete Bell, who like some coaches in recent years, is involved in a controversy with his players being paid. He was under a lot of pressure with a losing team and unable to attract new players, doing the only thing that he could in order to get new talent for his team. Nick Nolte stars as the controversial coach with Mary McDonnell, Ed O’Neill and Alfre Woodard as supporting cast members. NBA players Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway were also featured.
1. He Got Game (1998)
He Got Game is one of the best, but in some cases, underrated sports movies of all time. It was destined for success from the beginning with one of the hottest directors, actors, and NBA players of the time all involved with the project. It revolves around a skilled basketball player’s father who wants him to go to college in order for him to get a shorter sentence. Spike Lee wrote and directed the film with Denzel Washington and Ray Allen starring as father and son. IT has become such a big deal that Allen even wore the last name of his character on a jersey in a game and John Turturro, Ned Beatty, Milla Jovovich, and Rosario Dawson were all featured in the ensemble cast.