10 Basketball Movies to Get You Pumped for the NBA Finals
Before you watch the two best teams in the NBA face off on TV, watch the best teams Hollywood has ever assembled play their heart out in slow motion. Here are 10 awesome basketball movies that will get you pumped to watch the real thing.
Teen Wolf (1985)
Magic Johnson. Michael Jordan. Michael J. Fox? Yes, the ‘80s icon will go down as one of the most memorable beasts to ever dominate the court thanks to this nostalgic gem about a college kid who embraces being a werewolf, instead of hiding it, like so many other cinematic shape-shifters.
Regarded as one of the finest underdog sports stories ever told, this basketball drama stars Gene Hackman as a coach with a checkered past who trusts the town drunk (Dennis Hopper) to help him take a small Indiana high school team to the state finals.
White Men Can't Jump (1992)
Woody Harrelson proves to Wesley Snipes that he’s got game in this classic comedy about two Los Angeles street hustlers who put their differences aside to double their chances on the court. Hopefully the movie inspires you to actually play the sport instead of just watching it -- but learn from Harrelson’s mistakes and don’t bet on it.
Hoop Dreams (1994)
Roger Ebert called this documentary tracing the athletic ambitions of two inner-city high school kids “a masterpiece,” and “one of the great moviegoing experiences” of his lifetime. It’s hard to find – or type – a more certified recommendation than that.
Space Jam (1996)
Michael Jordan teams up with the Looney Tunes to take down the Monstars – animated aliens who tower over Jordan’s 6’ 6” frame, and the game is a nail-biter down to the very last second. Kids have never cheered so loud in movie theaters, and Jordan’s arm has never stretched so far to dunk.
He Got Game (1998)
This Spike Lee Joint is one of the filmmaker’s best thanks to a compelling relationship between real-life NBA star Ray Allen and his imprisoned father, played by Denzel Washington, who is trying to reconnect with his son while trying to secure early release from prison by convincing the teenager to attend the governor of New York’s alma mater.
Love & Basketball (2000)
Spike Lee coproduced this basketball drama that explores two athletes’ passion for the game, as well as their passion for each other. The lifelong romance between Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan will remind you that a professional basketball career is temporary, but love is forever. Well, hopefully.
Coach Carter (2005)
Samuel L. Jackson takes on the eponymous role of a no-nonsense coach who inspires his team (including Channing Tatum) to take school as seriously as they do their favorite sport. While the inspirational sports drama is formulaic, Jackson’s Coach Carter will remind you it takes entire teams – not star players – to win championships.
Woody Harrelson returns to his roots to star alongside Will Ferrell as Jackie Moon, an American Basketball League owner willing to do whatever it takes to get his team into the NBA during the 1976 merger. Warning: Jackie’s antics on the court might make some viewers wish this is how the game was actually played.
More Than a Game (2008)
Watch the rise of LeBron James through the trials and tribulations captured in this incredible documentary detailing how he and four of his childhood friends attracted the national spotlight while conquering a youth basketball league before the Cleveland Cavaliers star conquered the NBA.