Love basketball? Well, you’re not alone. Basketball is big business in the country with the NBA, generating more than $8 billion in revenue per season. In 2019, the total NBA regular attendance was 21.93 million. Millions of other fans follow college basketball and other minor leagues.
With so much interest in the sport, it’s no wonder Hollywood has come calling to tell some great stories. With basketball stars earning millions of dollars and becoming celebrities, there’s a lot of drama to interest filmmakers. There are also inspiring stories of players who have risen against all the odds to the pinnacle of sports. Some films also tell tragic stories, team heroics, and many others.
This post looks back at some of the best basketball movies that you can watch to brighten your day. Take a look.
Released in 1994, this film became an instant hit as it recounted the inside details of college basketball. From gambling to corruption to illegal payments for athletes, there’s nothing left out by director William Friedkin. Nick Nolte plays Western University coach Bobby Knight and gives an impressive performance. It’s a good story for anyone with an interest in basketball.
Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson are Venice Beach hustlers who bring some fun to your screen. Released in 1992, Director Ron Shelton uses comedy to highlight issues from race, relationship while all the same putting basketball at the center of it.
Spike Lee never underwhelms, and in this 1998 film, he features one of the greatest movie stars of modern time, Denzel Washington. Denzel plays Jake Shuttlesworth while Ray Allen is his estranged son Jesus Shuttlesworth, a top-ranked recruit.
Jake gets parole from his murder sentence to persuade Jesus to play for Big State University. The movie highlights NCAA corrupted recruiting and its nefarious economic culture.
Hoop Dreams is one of the best documentaries ever made about basketball. It features two black teens in Chicago, William Gates and Arthur Agee, who despite all the odds still dream of playing in the NBA.
The story details the myriad obstacles from family deaths, poor grades, drug-addict parents, serious injuries. The documentary beautifully captures the gritty rawness of an inner-city while highlighting how much basketball is to this community.
The state of Indiana exhibits a lot of pride in basketball. Hoosiers, is a story about an underdog basketball team (Hickory’s new basketball) from a small rural town in Indiana. The film depicts the role of unity, hard work, and community support.
Of course, Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) the coach ruffles feathers to achieve his goal. It is, without a doubt, one of the best sports films ever made.
Gina Prince-Blythewood’s directorial debut was nothing short of impressive. The film features Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy “Q” McCall (Omar Epps), two lovers with a deep love for basketball. It’s a movie based on the sport but it also tackles the pressures college basketball players face, among other pertinent issues.
Samuel L. Jackson never disappoints and in this 2005 flick, he was once again at his best as a basketball coach. Jackson returns to his old high school and sets a goal to help the young kids grow through deep life lessons.
His focus isn’t solely on the game but also on academics, discipline, and morality. This approach brings out the best in the players who, despite being underdogs, fight to win.
There’s always action and drama around professional basketball. Hollywood has done a marvelous job in depicting these intriguing happenings in some great films. If you love basketball, these movies will brighten your mood even during the offseason.