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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Best Basketball Films

The NBA playoffs are upon us and I thought this would be a good time to express the Best and Worst of Basketball in film.

Best High School Basketball Film: Hoosiers

No shock here, Hoosiers has been a
Basketball film staple since it's release
in 1986. This film had such a impact on the sports world that in 9th grade my Junior High School Basketball coach watched Hoosiers a dozen times and tried to coach just like Norman Dale.(Gene Hackman) We won 2 games that year, and he was gone the next year.

Best College Basketball Film: Blue Chips

Nick Nolte pulls off the best Bobby Knight impersonation ever! This film even has Bobby Knight in it and you want more Pete Bell. It's a very entertaing film about the corruption of College Basketball and has great performances all around, with the exception of Penny Hardaway and Rickey Roe. William Freidkin directs a great Ron Shelton script. I have been waiting since 1994 for Nolte and Shaq's next film collaboration, come on guys!

Best Street Ball Film: White Men Can't Jump

Ron Shelton hits again with this gem from 1992.
Wesley and Woody shine on and off the court as the best screen duo since Riggs and Murtaugh. Ron Shelton is a sports director and every film he requires that his stars know how to play the sport the film is about. According to IMDB the basketball instructors on the film said that Wesley and Woody reached the skill level to play Division 3 college ball, and it shows. No other film has got the trash talking or the race division in basketball down as good as this film did.

Best Basketball Player in Film History: WOLF!

This is a tricky one. Michael J. Fox's Scott Howard in human form is the best player on a team with a horrible coach and a player called Chubby. Scott Howard sucks, but when he wolfs out he becomes Lebron James and single handily murders the competition while Chubs eats on the court. Nobody in the history of basketball, not even Jimmy Chitwood, could beat Scott Howard's WOLF!

Worst Player: Hoops McCann
Hi Hoops! This guy can't even throw paper in a wastebasket.

Best Performance by a Pro Basketball Player In A Film:Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem is pure gold in one of the best comedies ever made. Look at Dan Marino in Ace Ventura:Pet Detective and then watch Kareem in Airplane! The guy should have won a Oscar in comparison. The pissed off look on his face along with the "The hell I don't!" speech with Joey gets me every time.

Shaquille O'Neil's Neon Bedaux in Blue Chips is a distant second to Kareem. Penny Hardaway's Butch McCrae from the same film is the WORSE performance by a Pro Basketball player in film history.

The Best Basketball Film: Hoop Dreams

In 1994 Steve James made one of the best documentaries ever made. The Film is about Basketball prodigies Arthur Agee and William Gates growing up with the pros and cons of having a talent for the game. It also focuses on the inner city, drugs, family, and everyone trying to sink their teeth into these boys who may make millions one day in the NBA. Great film and a must see, even if you don't like sports.

The Worst Basketball Film: Game Day

Oh this one is a doozy from 1999. It's Richard Lewis doing his best Rick Pitino impression while being a womanizing drunk. Movies like Coach Carter and Glory Road are bad films that follow a formula and are a dime a dozen. This movie is over the top with the acting, writing, and the scenario. The film takes place on the day of the championship game of the NCAA tournament, and Richard Lewis is the coach of the underdog team. What makes this film is the end, it is so mind boggling that you have to watch it 20 more times just to make sure it is real.


  1. Great write up. 'Hoosiers' may be my favorite sports movie of all time. To this day, I have never seen 'Blue Chips' all the way through. I remember when it came out and I caught some of it on cable but never completed it. 'Game Day' may be the worst sports movie of all time. I especially like how the championship game is played in a junior high gym.

  2. Props for remembering Hoops McCann.
    It's good that you mentioned Hoop Dreams and it should be required veiwing, but there is another basketball documentary I would encourage everyone to see. The Heart of the Game. I saw this in the theater and it had me on the edge of my seat. It's focused more from the coach's point of view, from his first year through the following seven seasons as he tries to push a girls high school basketball team to become champions.

  3. Great job, Co-Co! Although I've never seen GAME DAY, I think you might be forgetting this little gem from 1996:

  4. oh,

    you're welcome!

  5. Watch GameDay Jerf and Eddie will look like, well not Citizen Kane, but at least Forrest Gump.