Basketball is a sport recognized worldwide for the determination and grit players go through to win the game. From LeBron James to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, basketball is among the best sports out there that is entertaining to watch due to its fast-paced game mechanics. It’s unbelievable that just putting a ball into a basket could be so much entertaining, yet here we are.
Movies try to emulate and even romanticize the kind of game basketball is, and there are basketball movies that are so amazing that they’ll leave you speechless and even motivate you to play some rounds.
That’s simply because basketball is a spectacle of a game with spectacular moments such as Michael Jordan’s flu game where he had to battle the flu while winning victory in the NBA finals or Bill Russell having to withstand racist comments hurled at him by fans. Just like any other sport or activity, there’s intrigue, politics, and drama involved even though at a more enthusiastic and intense level.
Whether you’re new to basketball or an avid fan, you’re sure to find these basketball movies interesting and motivating, some even going so far as leaving you speechless. Here are the top basketball films that will leave you driven and inspired.
He Got Game (1998)
He Got Game is this 90s classic starring Denzel Washington that is both awesome and inspiring. Scoring 2,973 three-pointers and winning two NBA titles, Ray Allen is a member of the NBA’s 75th-anniversary team, yet people know him as Jesus Shuttlesworth based on the 1998 basketball drama of Spike Lee’s “He Got Game”. This film is recognized to be among the best basketball movies of all time as tons of love and energy is poured into the sport. Even though it is just a basketball film, people know the name of the basketball actor there than his real name.
Jesus Shuttlesworth acted opposite the immovable Denzel Washington who plays the ex-convict father of Allen, Jake Shuttlesworth, in this timeless basketball movie revolving around a son and father rebuilding their relationship, which was destroyed by Jake who accidentally killed Jesus’s mother. Jake was released on parole on the basis that he must persuade his son to play for his alma mater Big State.
Even though this was his first film, Ray Allen acts brilliantly and pushes the boundaries of emotions like pride, regret, and idolatry of a child to his father. If you’re one of the greatest basketball players yet people relate, recognize, and identify with you through a film, that’s when you can determine that the film is among the greatest ever made.
Love & Basketball (2000)
This classic romantic film puts you in the hypothetical situation where Romeo and Juliet never drank poison, but they played basketball instead. Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan star as Quincy McCall and Monica Wright-McCall, respectively. They are two childhood friends with the dream of becoming basketball players whose love grows to be an obsession.
Basketball is based on the intensity of collaborative and creative energy between individuals, which is something that the movie literally and figuratively shows to tell a love story between two people with the same goal, sometimes conflicting in ways to achieve it. Few movies have ever told a love story out of a basketball-themed narrative without sacrificing the overall story integrity.
Above The Rim (1994)
Sometimes, when you choose which basketball team to join, it can mean life or death because this film captures the kind of precarious environment that young Black men have in basketball. Above The Rim is a heart-stopping film that follows a high school basketball star Kyle-Lee Watson played by Duane Martin who must decide to play for his hometown for his coach Mike Rollins played by David Bailey or a local drug dealer named Birdie, played by the late Tupac Shakur.
Among the climactic scenes in the film involves Birdie commanding his lackeys to kill someone from the opposing team to avenge their loss. This film was undeniably the best role Tupac played, which is why it is etched in cinema history for being one of the best basketball-related films of all time. Not only that but the film hosts a talented basketball movie cast such as Wood Harris, Marlon Wayans, and Bernie Mac, among others, while its soundtrack has stood the test of time for roughly 30 years.
Even though the list boasts only three basketball films, these movies are among the greatest basketball movies of all time due to the heart-pumping drama scenes including romantic and political intrigue which is only found in a film about basketball. The late 90s really knew how to make a basketball film without much reliance on modern tech, but just raw footage of emotional moments in cinema history.
He Got Game was among the best films that Denzel Washington starred in, and Ray Allen shined there in his role to the point that people know him through that film. Love & Basketball realizes the hypothetical situation where Romeo and Juliet became basketball players instead. Lastly, Above The Rim shows how gruesome the underworld belly of basketball can become if you are in league with the wrong people.
These are really the perfect basketball shows to watch and even re-watch as no word can ever describe how great these movies are.