9 Best Basketball Movies of All Time


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There are a million football movies and a million baseball movies, but what about basketball? They certainly don’t make basketball movies like they used to. Looking to check some famous basketball movies off your list? Here are nine movies about basketball you need to watch.

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‘Hoop Dreams’ (1994)

In terms of pure, objective greatness, we probably won’t top “Hoop Dreams.” This is one of those movies that many people would argue is the greatest documentary of all time. On a surface level, it’s about two high school students in the Chicago area who share the dream of going pro. But it’s also about class, race, advantage, and the American school system. Put it on your list; it’s worth a watch.

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‘Hoosiers’ (1986)

Even if you’ve never seen “Hoosiers”, you probably know what it’s about. The underdog team from Indiana’s tale is a classic at this point, and I’d bet that most people still think about it when asked to name a movie Gene Hackman’s been in. Right after they say “A Bug’s Life.”

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‘He Got Game’ (1998)

“He Got Game” follows the relationship between a troubled father and his prodigy son. This is Spike Lee and Denzel, baby. What else do you need? Plus, beyond NBA superstar Ray Allen in a lead role, it’s got tons of other real players in it, from Charles Barkley to Rick Fox to Shaq.

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‘Like Mike’ (2002)

In this masterpiece, Bow Wow (Lil’, at the time) plays a sad little orphan kid. He finds some of Michael Jordan’s old sneakers. Then he gets electrocuted while holding them, gains the powers of Michael Jordan, and is immediately signed to an NBA team. All because of his magic shoes. Nothing else you need to know. How would this not be considered one of the greatest basketball movies of all time?

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‘White Men Can’t Jump’ (1992)

You probably don’t need another reason to love Woody Harrelson, but if you haven’t seen this, here’s one more. Not only is it one of the best basketball movies you’ll see, it probably belongs in the pantheon of great L.A. movies as well. Once you’ve seen it, you’ll never be able to look at the pickup courts in Venice again without thinking about it.

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‘Space Jam’ (1996)

It’s a good thing everybody already knows what this movie is, because to describe it is kind of like describing a dream you might have had. The gang’s all here, from Bugs Bunny to Michael Jordan, and you’d be surprised how well this holds up. Just pretend the disastrous sequel doesn’t exist and give this a rewatch.

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‘Trainwreck’ (2015)

This probably doesn’t count as a basketball movie, but basketball is heavily featured and tons of stars make cameos, so I’m putting it on the list. LeBron James sneak attacked us all with how natural of an actor he is in this movie, and the scene where he and Bill Hader play basketball together is already a classic. I’ll never think about Amar’e Stoudemire again without thinking of his oddly pivotal role; even legendary commentator Marv Albert makes an appearance. 

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‘Above the Rim’ (1994)

A gritty drama about street ball, “Above the Rim” is a perfect slice of urban life in the 90s. Tupac and Duane Martin star as promising high school basketball players, and in a way, it’s a pretty similar story to “Hoop Dreams,” covering honor, friendship, and tragedy.

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‘Air Bud’ (1997)

There’s no rule that says a dog can’t play basketball, right? That’s the entire premise of this movie. A golden retriever who is good at bouncing things off his nose gets to play in the NBA because there is no rule that specifically says he can’t. I assume there is also no rule that says I can’t play in the NBA either, so I am expecting a call from the Lakers’ front office any day now.

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