As NBA fans take a break from checking NBA standings and scores with the offseason underway, many of those fans still crave the itch of basketball and choose to fix it in multiple ways. Those fans play basketball video games, play pickup basketball themselves or like most of us, watch basketball movies.
In the world of sports movies, outside of baseball, basketball probably has the most movies about the sport including fictional storylines as well as storylines inspired by true events. While newer basketball movies like Hustle with Adam Sandler didn’t make the cut for this list, older movies that are considered classics did end up on this list. Many of you have seen all if not most of these movies and for those who haven’t, make sure to check these out as these are considered the best basketball movies with some even considered some of the best sports movies.
Regardless if it is just basketball or all sports, Hoosiers is considered one of the best sports movies of all time. A movie based on a true story and set in one of basketball’s most sacred places, Indiana. Hoosiers is a film that tells the story of a small town in Indiana and how the high school basketball team goes on to win a state title against all odds.
Gene Hackman gives an all-time acting performance as he plays coach Norman Dale, who is a failed college coach who gets a shot at redemption. The film is very loosely based on “The Milan Miracle,” the story of the 1954 Milan High School basketball team, which won the state championship on a last-second shot by Bobby Plump. If you love basketball and a redemption story, take a look at Hoosiers.
Space Jam (1996)
If you are a 90’s kid, there is a good chance that you have not only watched Space Jam multiple times but it is also considered a childhood favorite of yours. Featuring the greatest NBA superstar of all time in Michael Jordan alongside Saturday morning cartoon legends The Looney Toons, Space Jam combines the world Jordan knows with the world the Looney Toons know best.
Villainous aliens steal the NBA skills from players like Charles Barkley and challenge Bugs Bunny and crew to a basketball game. Michael Jordan is recruited by the Looney Toons to take down the Monstars with help from Bill Murray. Although not the best acting or best rated movie, Space Jam is a nostalgic 90’s movie and an all time favorite for all ages.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Although it is not a traditional film like the two above, Hoops Dreams is a documentary that is considered to be one of the best basketball movies of all time.
Not only is it considered one of the best basketball and sports movies but it is widely acclaimed as one of the best documentaries of all time. Hoop Dreams was filmed over a five-year span and follows two inner-city Chicago students and their families through the struggles and sacrifices they made as they attempt a professional basketball career.
Famous movie reviewer, Roger Ebert, called Hoop Dreams “the best picture of the 1990s” and “one of the best movies about American life”. With a film like this, people get a better picture of the urban class and importance of basketball in these communities. If you are looking for an emotional story that involves true, historical facts, Hoop Dreams is the move for you.
As there are over 25 total basketball movies that are widely praised, it is tough for all to make such a short list. Along with Hoosiers, Space Jam, and Hoop Dreams there are many other movies people could argue deserve to be on this list including He Got Game, White Man Can’t Jump, Like Mike, Love & Basketball, Coach Carter, Glory Road, and many more.
If you noticed a film on here that you haven’t seen and consider yourself a basketball or general sports fan, make sure to check these out as they are widely acclaimed as some of the best basketball and sports movies of all time. Nearly all of these are fit for all ages and definitely worth a watch.