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Top Ten Basketball Movies of All Time

February 15, 2010 10:12 am 26 comments

by Sam Neter

With me and all my friends when we were younger, if you weren’t playing ball, you’d be inside watching it. Thanks to Ebay, Pontel and my local video shack I have a pretty extensive gametape and basketball related film library (which I’m looking to sell if anyone is interested!). Been a lot of great basketball related films released over the years, and with the official UK release of Lebron James’ More Than A Game today, I thought it’s about time I rank em! Here are my Top Ten Basketball movies of All Time

*All links used throughout this post are Amazon affiliate links, check whether your DVD player is compatible as some may require multi-region DVD players :)

10) Love And Basketball
Does exactly what it say’s on the tin, is the story of two next-door neighbours in Los Angeles, California who grew up loving basketball and, eventually, each other. Perhaps a lil bit more of a chick flick than the other titles on this list, but whether I should admit it or not, I remember enjoying it lol.

9) Coach Carter
A recent release compared to most of the films on this list (2005), Coach Ken Carter causes controversy after he benches his entire team for breaking their academic contract with him. Being based on a true story (which is always better in my books), a real feel-good film.

Above The Rim

Above The Rim sneaks in at number 8

8) Above The Rim
Another all time classic, tells the story of promising high school basketball star Kyle Watson and his relationships with his two brothers, one a drug dealer and the other a former basketball star fallen on hard times and now employed as a security guard.

7) Hoosiers
I remember seeing this when I was about 13-14 and being mesmerised by it, wanting to watch it again and again…didn’t realise until I researched for this article that it was released as ‘Best Shot’ in the UK. Starring Gene Hackman, who plays a coach with a checkered past and a local drunk who train a small town high school basketball team to become a top contender for the championship. Some great motivational training shots, and also a great reminder why we don’t wear those short shorts anymore…

6) White Men Can’t Jump
Perhaps the most classic film on this list, provided me and my schoolmates many-a-line to use in our pickup games on the playground. Has any basketball fan not seen this film? Tells the story of white player Billy (Woody Harrelson) and black player Sydney (Wesley Snipes) teaming up to hustle people on the courts of California.

Rebound The Legend of Earl The Goat Manigault

Earl Manigault was said to be able to touch the top of the backboard

5) Rebound: The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault
The film starts with Kareem Abdul Jabbar stating Earl Manigault is the best player he has ever seen. A dramatisation of the life of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault , looking at the highs and lows with a lot of factual based occurrences which make it all the more entertaining to watch. Was also what first got me wearing ankle weights to school every day Haha. ..

4) Blue Chips
The acting isn’t the best and the story line may be a bit cheesy but I used to watch this film over and over when I was a young’n. Starring Shaq, Penny Hardaway and Nick Nolte, it tells the story of troubled basketball coach Pete Bell (Nick Nolte) at risk of losing his job after 3 so-so seasons and facing the moral dilemma of paying kids under the table to play for him. Gives a great insight into college ball.

3) Through the Fire: Sebastian Telfair’s Defining Year
Through the Fire follows the hype and journey of Coney Island basketball legend, Sebastian Telfair, from famed Lincoln High School straight to the NBA. The trailer to this film/documentary was what motivated me through my first year of university basketball, with great motivational shots of Telfair running stairs and working out (get at me if you want a copy, I have it on my hard drive still haha). Could watch this over and over.

2) Hoop Dreams
Hoop Dreams is one of the most coveted basketball documentaries that exists. It follows the stories of two basketball players; William Gates and Arthur Agee, from their Freshman year in High School to their Freshman year in College. Both have big dreams to play in the NBA and this film documents the trials and tribulations that young players in the states have to deal with, trying to balance basketball with academia and family. A touching story that I’d recommend to anyone.

He Got Game

My top basketball movie of all time

1) He Got Game
With Ray Allen starring as Jesus Shuttleworth the high school phenom, Denzel Washington his father who must try to convince him to go to a college so he can get a shorter sentence, and directed by New York Knicks fanatic Spike Lee, you know this is gonna be a good one. Easily my favourite film on this list and have watched it way too many times to count. Watch it NOW if you haven’t already!

What about you?

What do you think of my choices? How would your top ten rank? I’m pretty sure with what I have read so far about More Than a Game, it is going to crack my top ten, so be sure if you haven’t already to order yours at Amazon. Review coming soon….

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{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

John February 15, 2010 at 11:05 am

Hoop Dreams is one of the greatest films of all time. For me, it has to be #1. He Got Game slots in at #2 and Hoosiers moves up to #3. Apart from that, seems like a solid list :p

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Tricky February 15, 2010 at 11:37 am

Soul in the hole.

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SnowNasty July 19, 2010 at 4:31 pm

Yes! Soul In The Hole! That was shot in my hood ;-)

That was a great tournament too!

I miss the 90s yo! lol

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mike February 15, 2010 at 12:44 pm

im shocked ive not seen half of these movies!!! haha
can you hit me up with sebastian telfair doc please ??
hope your cool

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Matt February 15, 2010 at 1:10 pm

above the rim isn’t great but its not bad!! what about glory road?

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Tricky February 15, 2010 at 1:13 pm

that is a good point, where is glory road..?

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Sam Neter February 15, 2010 at 7:27 pm

John, I went over that list so many times re-scrambling things, looking at it now I would consider moving Hoosiers up a spot..but I could be here all day! Hoop Dreams is sick, the only knock on from me it is it’s perhaps too long? I do remember thinking after a couple of hours it was dragging…but yeah still a great film.

Tricky/Matt haven’t seen Soul In The Hole or Glory Road for that matter..will put them on the to do list then get back to you ;)

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Martin Henlan February 17, 2010 at 9:37 am

Why no love for MJ? You can’t tell me that Space Jam isn’t better than Above the Rim.

I’m guessing that Come Fly With Me doesn’t count as a movie otherwise that would be top 5 IMHO.

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Sam Neter February 17, 2010 at 10:36 am

Haha you reckon? I thought Space Jam sucked! Definitely rate Above the Rim over it…

Yeah, all those NBA series videos I wouldn’t class as movies..though they are sick, maybe I should do a top 10 of those..I have piles of them on VHS still, used to watch them over and over and over!

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Rich February 17, 2010 at 11:24 am

The lack of Space Jam on your list is a crime.

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Tricky February 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

Serious. Space jam is a big film!
Its the film all my non basketball mates associate with basketball!

If you can, watch Soul in the hole its about a baller in manhatton called Booger Smith, but it is kinda a documentary like more than a game.

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Sam Neter February 23, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Haha all the non ballers associate with it because it has MJ and the Looney Toons in..but do you reeeally think it’s better than any of the above films!? lol

Yeah I’m gonna try and get my hands on Soul in the Hole!

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Tricky February 25, 2010 at 11:45 am

Semi Pro…

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Guy February 25, 2010 at 4:44 pm

Have not seen it but:

MORE THAN A GAME

http://www.youtube.com/watch#v=nxKTBtI1wYU&feature=related

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MuswellMunky February 26, 2010 at 8:28 pm

Come on now, “Hooked: the legend of Hook Mitchell” needs to be on there too!

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John Spivey July 5, 2010 at 10:05 am

is this some kind of joke? Hoosiers actually had Academy Award winners. He Got Game?? Wow. Why not throw “Eddie” and “The Air Up There” into the top 3 if you’re just trying to be silly. Also “Glory Road” should be in the top 3 along with “Hoosiers” and “Hoop Dreams”. After that, who cares? Haven’t been many good basketball movies, ever.

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Dylan Crampton July 19, 2010 at 9:57 pm

coach carter best film

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zachary henkin July 23, 2010 at 12:52 am

the best moive ever from summer day camp space jam

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louis Francis September 15, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Surely (glory road) should be up there with the top 10, the first ever all black starting line-up for a college basketball team to the NCAA national championship.

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patrik October 30, 2010 at 10:26 am

i am watching for a basketball movie, i dont really know what it’s name, butsomething like …gold…

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jeffrey g. delfin February 26, 2011 at 12:13 pm

i think COACH CARTER and GLORY ROAD should be included in your list,these are great basketball movies.

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dpeti January 4, 2012 at 8:14 pm

Coach Carter was a very watchable film although it deviated quite a lot from real life.

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Basketball Dad January 4, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Glory Road should be in any top ten

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Drazen Petrovic January 6, 2012 at 10:32 am

A really good but little known “Indie” basketball movie is “American Streetballers”. I don’t think it was ever released in the UK but was released in the US in 2010. I highly recommend it.

Much like Hoop Dreams , although this is a work of fiction, its an authentic snapshot into the life of US city kids and the problems they face with while trying to pursue their dreams of making it in hoops. Its very impressive considering it was made on such a small budget.

If you have a multi-region DVD player you can get it from the online store named after a major river that flows in South America.

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Tony D January 7, 2012 at 1:39 pm

The Air Up Their!

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Samuel Arsovski July 17, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Coach Carter is honestly one of the best movies of all time

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