In celebration of the NBA playoffs beginning (second best time of year outside of March Madness) Bro Knows has decided to create a list for the top basketball movies, Documentary and otherwise. Sports films hold a special place in our hearts. Whether it’s Jimmy and the Hickory basketballball team taking on South Bend for the State title in Hoosiers, or Paul “Wrecking” Crew leading a team of convicts to victory over the guards in The Longest Yard, There is just something special about a really good sports movie. The NBA playoffs are here, and if you’re a basketball fan, like myself, then this is probably heaven for you. Outside of March it just doesn’t get any better than this. Whether your “team Curry” or “team Harden,” or if you’re rooting for Lebum.. I mean Lebron and the Cavs or The upstart Hawks, April and May are where it all starts. So to kick off The playoffs here is a list of the 10 best basketball movies, documentary and fiction, ever created.
10) Hoosiers (1986)
It’s a classic! the only reason Hoosiers isn’t as high on this list as some might think is strictly because the choreography for the basketball scenes is lacking. There is no question though, that Hoosiers is one of the best sports movies and more than deserving of it’s position on this list.
9) Without Bias (2013)
The chilling documentary about the famed Lenny Bias. The man who was compared heavily to Michael Jordan, had all the talent in the world and nothing but blue skies and green dollars ahead of him, but was taken all too soon at the hands of a cocaine overdose. The film chronicles the man and the player before delving into the story that changed the course of history. Len Bias is still referenced, referred to, and spoken of, as a cautionary tale to incoming NBA rookies looking to celebrate.
8) Love and Basketball (2000)
Detailing the deep connection individuals can develop with others through the game of basketball, Love and Basketball transcends the genre of a sports film. At it’s core, it’s a love story between two people, but is also a love story between those two people and basketball. What the film also excels at is profiling the pressures of collegiate and professional athletes. The first feature from director Gina Prince-Bythewood, Love and Basketball is truly a fantastic movie that has a little something for everyone.
7) Winning Time: Reggie Miller Against The New York Knicks (2010)
Spike Lee and Reggie Miller go head to head in this interesting documentary. Part of ESPN’s 30 for 30 series, this one is mostly just really fun. Providing a brief history into how Reggie became Reggie and how he got to the Pacers, mostly focussing on the classic playoff performances He put on against the Knicks. Winning Time is just a whole lot of fun.
6) Doin’ It In The Park (2013)
All about the mean streets of New York City, and its legendary pick up basketball. Following Bobbito Garcia and Kevin Couliau as they spend 90 days traveling throughout New York City filming, playing pickup basketball, and telling the story of how the courts, the people, and the game were lifted up by the passion of the parks. Currently available on Netflix, you won’t want to skip this one if you’re a true basketball fan.
5) More Than A Game (2008)
The story of the fab 5 of Akron, Ohio. Chronicling Lebron James and his four friends as they travel all the way from youth basketball to high school seniors and national champions. Shifting the focus from Lebron and becoming a group story about how friendship and camaraderie conquer all, More Than A Game is just as it’s title suggests.
4) The Fab Five (2012)
The story of the most lauded recruiting class in NCAA history. Five of the most highly rated freshman strolling onto campus with championship aspirations, you couldn’t write a better story. Focussing on the whole team and how the incoming freshman affected overall moral, and how they upset the system with the attitudes and entitlement they brought with them. The Documentary humanized the famous Fab Five by reminding people that they were a bunch of 18 and 19 year old kids with the whole world watching.
3) Soul in The Hole (1997)
Following the infamous NYC streetballer Ed “Booger” Smith, as his team “Kenny’s Kings” gear up to play in the big time “Soul In The Hole” basketball tournament in NYC. Previewing the fiery passion these men had for pick up basketball, and showcasing the talent of one “Booger” Smith, Soul In The Hole is a brilliant doc with incredible music throughout.
2) He Got Game (1998)
Spike Lee Directs a basketball and family drama starring the great Denzel Washington and NBA legend Ray Allen. That description alone will etch your spot on any top 10 list, but this film more than earns it’s keep, at the 2 spot with incredible acting, and believable family dynamics. Allen is Jesus Shuttlesworth, a big time high school baller with the world at his feet. His Father Jake is in prison for the murder of his wife and Jesus’ mother. Released for a one week period Jake is promised a commuted sentence if he can convince his estranged son to sign with the governor of NY’s alma mater. This movie is so much more than a basketball film, it is an epic family drama and a character study that incorporates basketball. There is no questioning this film’s heart and the talent that surrounded it.
1) Hoop Dreams (1994)
Widely regarded as the best basketball doc of all time, This site argues it’s the best sports movie of all time. Far ahead of it’s time, Hoop Dreams Chronicled the rise of two young boys as they transition into high school hoops. Both coming from the same neighborhood, but with far different upbringings, the movie follows them through four years as they deal with home issues, wins and losses, and hardships on and off the court. Spanning all different type of genre’s, the movie is an emotionally riveting look at the lives of two inner city youth’s hell bent on making a better life for their families through basketball.
Sunset Park (1997)
I Hate Christian Laettner (2015)
White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
There you have it folks, the top 10 basketball movies of all time. As with all lists I’m sure there are some movies left off that some might argue belong, so comment what you think was missed and why. The whole fun of stuff like this is the debate! Thanks again for reading and enjoy the NBA playoffs!