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Some of the Best Basketball movies

One of the great things about movies is that they cover pretty much everything that we experience at one point or another. Yet within each sub-genre of film, you can go from one extreme to the other.

For example, Basketball films are a sub-genre of the sports movie. Like Baseball, I am not that big a fan of the actual game of Basketball, yet I do love a movie featuring it. From the sublime real-life drama of Hoop Dreams to the ridiculousness of Space Jam, you are bound to find something that appeals to you, even if you are not a fan of the actual sport.

With that in mind, here are some Basketball related movies (in no particular order) that are worth a watch.

White Men Can’t Jump

This 1992 film sees Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes join forces as street hustlers who work together to part other players from their hard-earned cash. Both of the main actors can really play and we get to see some real street basketball in the film.

The great script is full of humour, excellent dialogue and a few twists and turns. Throw in a supporting cast that includes Rosie Perez, Kadeem Hardison, Marques Johnson and more gives us a fantastic comedy sports movie.

Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams is the 1994 documentary film directed by Steve James that went from being a planned 30-minute film to five years of filming and 250 hours of footage!. It follows the story of two African-American high school students in Chicago and their dream of becoming professional basketball players.

What follows is a real-life story that looks at race, social class, economic division, education, and more. Not just a good basketball documentary, this is just a superb documentary and one of the best sporting movies of all time.

Inside Game

Based on real events, this 2019 movie takes us back a couple of years when NBA referee Tim Donaghy (Eric Mabius) got caught betting on games he worked, he said two men associated with the Gambino crime family – a bookie named Baba Battista (Will Sasso) and a drug dealer named Tommy Martino (Scott Wolf) – threatened to kill his family if he didn’t give them gambling picks. That’s what Donaghy told the FBI, that’s what he told 60 Minutes, and that’s what he testified in court.

However, it turns out that is not what actually happened. Well worth a watch just to see where things go.

Blue Chips

Back in 1994, William Friedkin (yes, the director of The Exorcist) took a crack at a basketball movie. The result was Blue Chips starring Nick Nolte (who is currently voicing one of the characters in Disney’s Star Wars show, The Mandalorian). Nolte plays a college coach who, desperate to bring in some new talent, ends up doing some illegal things to bring in the future stars of tomorrow.

Nolte gives a powerhouse performance as a man full of guilt with what he is doing but sees no way out of it.

The film also features various real-life basketball stars – Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee “Penny” Hardaway, Bob Knight, Rick Pitino, Nolan Richardson, Bob Cousy, Larry Bird, Jerry Tarkanian, Matt Painter, Allan Houston, Dick Vitale, Jim Boeheim, Dan Dakich and Bobby Hurley.

He Got Game

Director Spike Lee is a huge fan of the New York Knicks and you often see him courtside during matches. In 1998 Lee wrote, produced and directed He Got Game. The film stars Denzel Washington. as Jake Shuttlesworth who is in prison for killing his wife. However, he is released on parole for a week by the state’s governor to persuade his son to play for the governor’s alma mater in exchange for a reduced prison sentence.

Ably supported by John Turturro, Rosario Dawson and Milla Jovovich the film looks at the conflict between family members, trying to escape your past, and the need to come to terms with the actions of your younger self.

They are just a few films in the world of basketball, but which are your favourites?

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