The 10 Best Basketball Films of All Time!!

Since the 2013 NBA Championships are in full swing, we put together a list of the top 5 basketball movies of all time. After viewing over 3 dozen basketball movies in prep for this article, we decided to expand the list to 10  because there are too many good basketball movies to ignore. Without further ado, here’s our list of the Top 10 Basketball Movies of All Time!!!

1. Hoop Dreams


Initially planned as a 30-minute documentary short for PBS, this epic of a documentary encompassed 5 years and over 250 hours of footage.  The film is an emotional, politically incisive, epic. The film grossed $11 million at the box office. Unheard for documentaries at the time of release.


“High school basketball is king in small-town Indiana, and the 1954 Hickory Huskers are all hope and no talent. But their new coach — abrasive, unlikable Norman Dale — whips the team into shape … while also inciting controversy.”

Gene Hackman, image via

3. Coach Carter

“Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular, controversial Coach Carter, a no-nonsense hardliner who firmly believes that scholarship and a sense of ethics go hand in hand with excellence on the basketball court. The coach is so firm in his convictions that he benches his undefeated team of high schoolers when they turn in poor academic grades, much to the chagrin of the players’ parents and many fellow teachers.”

Samuel L. Jackson, image via

4. The Basketball Diaries

“Jim Carroll’s autobiographical novel chronicles a young basketball player’s descent into addiction. As Jim’s (Leonardo DiCaprio) experimentation gives way to a heroin habit supported by prostitution, a former addict (Ernie Hudson) may be the only one who can save him. Haunting and real, director Scott Kalvert’s drama is a powerful portrayal of chaos and redemption. Mark Wahlberg co-stars as one of Jim’s degenerate pals.”

Patrick McGaw, James Madlow, Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, image via

5. Glory Road

“Director James Gartner’s inspiring drama tells the true story of Don Haskins (Josh Lucas), a high school basketball coach who, in 1962, took the reins of the Texas Western Miners, an underdog NCAA Division One team, and decided to shake things up. Haskins’s insistence on recruiting the best players available to him, regardless of the color of their skin, revolutionized the sport … and changed the course of history.”

Derek Luke, image via

6. O

“This controversial, modern retelling of Shakespeare’s “Othello” takes place in an exclusive boarding school where Odin James (Mekhi Phifer) is the star basketball player and sole black student. Odin’s beautiful girlfriend, Desi (Julia Stiles), adores him. His coach (Martin Sheen) loves him like a son. But jealousy drives the coach’s real son, Hugo (Josh Hartnett), into an elaborate and deadly scheme to knock Odin off his exalted perch.”

Mekhi Phifer, image via

7. He Got Game

“Director Spike Lee looks at basketball and how far the sport will look the other way to protect and acquire key players. The plot hinges on a convict father (Denzel Washington) who’ll get early parole if he can persuade his son to play for the governor’s alma mater. But that’s just a pick-and-screen for an examination of sports, authority, race and class.”

Denzel Washington

8. Above the Rim

“While high schooler Kyle (Duane Martin) awaits word from Georgetown University about his basketball scholarship, he balances relationships with neighborhood gangster Birdie (Tupac Shakur), a strict coach, and Shep (Leon), a former basketball star falling for his mother, Mailika (Tonya Pinkins). Marlon Wayans, David Bailey, Bernie Mac, Henry Simmons and Shawn Michael Howard also star in this drama. Jeff Pollack directs and co-writes.”

Tupac Shakur, Leon, Marlon Wayans, Duane Martin, image via

9. Just Wright

“Good-hearted physical therapist Leslie Wright (Queen Latifah) is looking for romance but keeps finding duds until she meets professional basketball player Scott McKnight (Common). When Scott suffers a major injury, it’s up to Leslie to save his career. Leslie and Scott become close as they work together, but Leslie’s beautiful, gold-digging childhood chum — who is also Scott’s estranged girlfriend — threatens their relationship.”

Queen Latifah, Common, image via

10. Love & Basketball

“It’s about winning, losing and playing the game. Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) grow up next door to each other playing basketball, fighting and falling in love. When simultaneous turns in the big leagues throw their off-court relationship off-kilter, the pair discovers that very little is fair in Love & Basketball. Spike Lee produced this warm, witty film.”

Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, image via

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