With March upon us, it’s time for some basketball fun. Break out the snacks and beverages and fire up your home theater, because it’s not only about the tournaments, it’s also about some great hoop-related movies. Here are 10 of the best of all time.
This live action/animated comedy stars none other than the great Michael Jordan playing himself. In addition to supporting roles from Theresa Randle and Wayne Knight, you get to hear the voices of Danny DeVito, Billy West and Kath Soucie. The movie takes a fun look at the period between Jordan’s retirement in 1993 and his return in 1995, but this time around he enlists Looney Tunes characters in a basketball game against visiting aliens! Find out where to stream it here.
With a score by Jerry Goldsmith, this 1986 release stars Gene Hackman as a new basketball coach with a troubled past. Co-star Dennis Hopper received an Oscar® nomination for his role and Barbara Hershey helped round out an exceptionally strong cast. Hoosiers has been recognized by the United States National Film Registry as a “culturally, historically or aesthetically significant” movie. Find out where to stream it here.
Produced by Spike Lee and Sam Kit, this cult classic from 2000 tells the story of two Los Angeles neighbors who are chasing careers in basketball. The main characters, Quincy McCall (played by Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) intertwine struggles in life with their love for the game … as well as their love for each other. Find out where to stream it here.
Another film from director Spike Lee, this 1998 sports drama stars Denzel Washington and Ray Allen. Washington plays Jake Shuttlesworth, whose son (played by Allen) is the top-ranked basketball prospect in the country. Shuttlesworth is in prison for accidentally killing his wife, but is released on parole in order to convince his son to play for the governor’s alma mater. Interestingly, football legend Jim Brown plays a parole officer. Find out where to stream it here.
This compelling documentary follows two African American high school students as they are recruited by a high school with a top-flight basketball program and given the opportunity to pursue their dreams of turning pro. Back in 1994, when the film was first released, critics Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert gave it “Two Thumbs Up” and the New York Times added it to their Best 1000 Movies Ever list. Find out where to stream it here.
This sports drama is based on the true story of the events leading to the 1966 NCAA® Division Basketball Championship between the University of Kentucky and Texas Western College. Starring Josh Lucas, Derek Luke and Jon Voight, it explores the race relations of the era. The film won a 2006 ESPY Award for Best Sports Movie and featured a soundtrack from musician Trevor Rabin. Find out where to stream it here.
Sometimes you just need a good laugh and Semi-Pro delivers just that, with an all-star cast that includes Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson and Andre Benjamin. The plot revolves around singer Jackie Moon (Ferrell), who buys a basketball team with money from his one hit song. This fun film features lots of cameos, too, from the likes of Patti LaBelle, Kristen Wiig, Jason Sudeikis … and a 700-pound grizzly bear. Find out where to stream it here.
This 2005 film, starring Samuel L. Jackson, is based on the true story of Ken Carter, a Richmond, California high school basketball coach. The real coach Carter made the news in 1999 for suspending his basketball team, which was undefeated at the time, for bad academic scores. His new contract with the team required a C+ average from his players and a requirement that they sit in the front row while attending classes. The movie version is all about team pride and is an inspirational and entertaining view. Find out where to stream it here.
Directed by William Friedkin, this 1994 release stars Nick Nolte as a college coach doing whatever it takes to get new players for his team. Shaquille O’Neal makes an appearance as a blue chip prospect that Nolte is after, along with Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway. Lots of action and drama ensues with a nationally televised game against college basketball legend Bobby Knight’s Indiana team. Find out where to stream it here.
This wacky comedy, directed and co-written by David Zucker, stars Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Jenny Parker and Ernest Borgnine, and features guest appearances from great sports figures like Reggie Jackson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Dale Earnhardt. It follows two slackers who, after being shunned at a high school reunion, invent a game that combines baseball and basketball. The adventures begins when a local businessman helps the two create the National BASEketball League (NBL). Find out where to stream it here.
Ready to watch some great basketball-centric TV shows? Check out this blog posting.
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