I have loved Basketball since I was a little kid and have tried to devour any and all Basketball movies I can. Basketball is a sport that seems to transfer really well to the screen and that has been proven time and time again. Like my Baseball article we are going to countdown the 10 best that have been made so far because I hope we continue to get more!
10. Blue Chips – 1994
This is a movie that weirdly enough has aged pretty well. The story chronicles an embattled coach Pete Bell (Nick Nolte) who resorts to giving “gifts” to incoming Freshman in order to bribe them to coming to his school. These type of the things are still happening today so to see this in 1994 is ahead of its time. Oh and did I mention this movie stars Shaquille O’Neal (ever heard of him?), Penny Hardaway, and Bob freaking Cousy (along with numerous other cameos).
Juice Rating: 58/100
9. Like Mike – 2002
Oh man do I have you covered here Juicers. I already wrote an entire review on this movie! If you do not want to read that whole blog though, this movie is just an absolute dream. Every scene you just want to jump through the screen and become Calvin Cambridge, because he is living the dream of every kid. I love this movie even with all the cheesiness and inevitable conclusions. Also the cast is just ridiculous (go take a gander.)
Juice Rating: 70/100
8. White Men Can’t Jump – 1992
This movie actually shows a side of basketball that you hardly see on screen. We get to see real L.A. Streetball, while also seeing two guys hustle others in 2 on 2 games. It is something you can absolutely see happening and what makes this work of course is the chemistry with our two leads, Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes. They play off each other so well and make it seem like they are an unbeatable squad. The movie definitely goes off the rails a bit and has a forgettable Rosie Perez storyline, but overall this is a very fun movie with some great basketball scenes.
Juice Rating: 74/100
7. Space Jam – 1996
Classic, ABSOLUTE CLASSIC. Say what you want about the quality of the storyline, but this movie is everyone who is my ages childhood. This movie was watched over and over and over again and honestly made me fall in love with the NBA. I loved seeing Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Muggsy Bogues, and Patrick Ewing on screen and it all felt so natural to the world. Even when the Toons show up it just all feels like it works in this world. But at the end of the day you have Michael Jordan giving all the charisma and charm you need to be the biggest superstar in the world. Hopefully Lebron can live up to this in the sequel this summer.
Juice Rating: 76/100
6. Finding Forrester – 2000
I know I know an interesting choice here because you never think of this as necessarily a Basketball movie. But the main arc does revolve around the game so we are getting it in there. This movie is about a Basketball star who is torn because he loves to write and learns he has a gift for it. He seeks out a famous writer, of course played by Sean Connery, and he has to balance his basketball life with his life as a writer. This is just a heartwarming and compelling movie with great chemistry from the leads. I honestly wish we got more movies like this with this level of quality.
Juice Rating: 77/100
5. Glory Road – 2006
Very by the book, very Disney, but god damn if this movie does not hit you every single time you watch it. This is the true story of the Texas Western team that made it all the way to the 1966 NCAA Final, and ended up starting 5 Black Players against 5 White Players. Of course now a days you would be more surprised to see a team of 5 white players, but at the time this was a massive deal. Coach Don Haskins put everything on the line to prove a point and this story is told in the inspirational way it happened. The score is something that I have in my head all the time for some reason and that final game against Kentucky is just electrifying. This is definitely a crowd pleaser, and yes I am pleased every time I watch it.
Juice Rating: 78/100
4. Semi-Pro – 2008
What! Juice Man are you crazy? You are putting a Will Ferrell raunchy comedy as the number 4 Basketball movie? Well yes I am because this movie Rules. There are definitely jokes that are stuck in 2008, but that goes with every comedy over time. The real reason this movie is here is because of the way it depicts the ABA. Now Senior Year of High School I did a semester long report on the ABA. and the financial impact the merger had on the NBA. So I have a bit of an obsession with the ABA. The way this movie depicts that league is over the top, hilarious, and honestly spot on. The crazy halftime shows, the janky arenas, the outlandish promotions, all of that went on in the real ABA. To be honest though this movie just makes me laugh over and over every single time I pop it on.
Juice Rating: 81/100
3. Coach Carter – 2005
Samuel L. Jackson, playing a basketball coach. Should I honestly say more? The man is perfection and every and nails it as Coach Ken Carter. Coach Carter is about the titular character who just wants to bring some decency and hard work back to the kids at his old school. He has to go to extreme measures at points but as he says they are Student Athletes and the Student part comes first. Again the score in this is what drives the emotion and when Hope hits at the end it is an all time BANGER.
Juice Rating: 83/100
2. He Got Game – 1998
I have already talked numerous times about my feelings on Spike Lee (seriously though what does he need to do for the Oscars to acknowledge his movies). The man is a legend and his movies with Denzel are some of his best. He Got Game is a different style of movie for Spike, but still shows a section of Black America that is little seen which is his ultimate goal. What is amazing about this movie is that the man playing opposite Spike is Ray Allen. Yes, the same Ray Allen who is one of the best shooters in NBA history. He plays the ICONIC Jesus Shuttlesworth and gives a worthy performances opposite one of the best actors in the history of cinema. Their one on one game at the end (which was hardly scripted) feels so authentic and is just Denzel giving a clinic in acting. I love this movie and my dad definitely let me watch it when I was way too young.
Juice Rating: 87/100
- Hoosiers – 1986
When you ask people what the epitome of a sports movie is, they say Hoosiers. It is what every great sports movie dreams of being. So pure but yet feels so authentic to the time and shows what Basketball can mean for a town. The state of Indiana breathes basketball and a lof of it can be felt through this movie. There are so many lines people quote and so many scenarios people talk about, but it comes down to the fact that Gene Hackman is one of the great actors of our time, and he elevates this movie to another level. He is the coach that all other movie coaches are compared to and he wins basically every time. Hoosiers is just great, what can you say? Do not act like you did not want to be Jimmy Chitwood in your backyard growing up.
Juice Rating: 92/100
*You can find all of my Movie Ratings here.