Basketball has played a significant role in the world of movies, with some of the best sports films featuring organised basketball leagues such as the NBA. These films tell the inspirational stories of athletes winning against the odds and learning how to be team players. Basketball movies have all the essential components of good storytelling, which makes them a fan-favourite, whether you're into sports movies or not. Read on to learn more about some of the best basketball movies ever made and who starred in them.
- Celtic Pride (1996)
This classic basketball film is directed by Judd Apatow and stars Daniel Stern and Dan Aykroyd. Dan and Daniel play passionate Boston Celtics fans who kidnap basketball player Damon Wayans (character name Lewis Scott) to give the Celtics team a better chance of winning. The film achieved a little critical success in 1996 but has since become a certified cult classic. This is because it highlights how sports fandoms can take their love game too far, a common issue in today's digitised society.
- Fast Break (1979)
Directed by Jack Smight, this comedy film stars Gabe Kaplan as David Greene, who is a huge basketball fan living in New York. He gets a gig coaching a small college team and starts haunting the playgrounds of New York City to scout talent. Although the film is low-budget and quite predictable, it achieved modest success in theatres. This 70s comedy might only be rated 6.1/10 on IMDb, but it is one of the best movies of all time when it comes to basketball on the big screen.
- White Men Can't Jump (1992)
Starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, this basketball film is a fan favourite thanks to its perfect basketball scenes, as well as its comedy. Harrelson and Snipes act as two streetball hustlers who spend most of their time flip-flopping between rivals and friends. Part of its success can be attributed to the duo's cunningness. This makes it difficult for viewers to tell whether they're being conned along with other characters in the film or are in on Snipe and Harrelson's plans.
- Doin' It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC (2013)
The New York sports scene is well-known for its NBA basketball, with the New York Knicks, New York Liberty, and the Brooklyn Nets residing there. New York also has an interesting history with outdoor summer basketball, something which this 2013 documentary explores more of. This documentary film focuses on the world of NYC streetball culture. Featuring more than 700 courts, New York is the mecca of pick-up basketball with places such as West 4th St. Court and Rucker Park in Harlem. The film is an equal parts celebration and history lesson of the NYC pickup basketball scene. It was filmed throughout the five boroughs at some 180 courts in New York City and has a scene shot at Rikers Island Prison in the Bronx.
- Hustle (2022)
One of the latest movies to be released is Hustle, featuring Adam Sandler, who plays an NBA talent scout named Stan Sugerman. In the film, Stan risks his career and reputation for the real-life NBA basketball player Juancho Hernangómez. Hustle has proved to be a standout hit for Netflix, with Sandler playing a sympathetic character that viewers easily connect to. The director of the sports film, Jeremiah Zagar, created Hustle to showcase the trouble and challenges scouting agents and basketball players go through to make it in the basketball world.