Scott’s Top 5 Basketball Movies
Hoosiers tends to be the popular choice, but there have been several great basketball movies over the years. While I loved Hoosiers, I also grew up with White Men Can’t Jump.
I guess I’m a sucker for good comedies. When I ask someone what their favorite sports movie is, I generally get answers like Hoosiers, Rudy, Brian’s Song, Field Of Dreams, or Bull Durham. All are fine movies, but my favorite sports movie ever is Major League.
Naturally, when I started thinking about basketball movies, a comedy is the one that topped my list. The rest of the ones to make my list are dramas.
5. Hoop Dreams - A great film that follows two basketball stars throughout their high school years in Chicago, IL. It’s a documentary that takes you on an emotional roller coaster. Things work out well for one player, and not as well for another. I don’t want to give away too much, and the running time is 175 minutes, but if you’ve never seen this Academy Award nominated film and you have three hours to spare, you won’t be disappointed.
4. Glory Road - This one makes my cut for a few reasons. As a film, it probably shouldn’t rank in the top 5, but I’m a little biased. Several of my friends starred in the movie (including former Ragin’ Cajun Brad Boyd who played a member of Kentucky’s 1966 squad), it was filmed in Louisiana, and it’s centers around a significant moment in sports history. The 1966 Texas Western College team was the first to ever start an all-black lineup, and they won the National Championship.
3. He Got Game - some prefer Coach Carter, but I’ll take Denzel Washington as the lead in a Spike Lee film anyday (just not a certain Ron Shelton film, more on that in a minute). Not to mention a young Ray Allen shows off his acting chops.
2. Hoosiers - because who doesn’t love Hoosiers. Gene Hackman as a blackballed college coach who goes to a small Indiana town and takes over the local high school team, then leads the group of underdogs to a Championship. Why am I telling you this? You know the story. Sounds like a typical Hollywood script, only this one was based on a true story.
1. White Men Can’t Jump - writer and director Ron Shelton didn’t end up with Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson in pre-production. No, the original casting was said to be Denzel Washington and Keanu Reeves. Can you imagine? I’d say things worked out pretty well. You see, if you’re a fan of White Men Can’t Jump, you understand that it’s more than just a comedy…more than just a basketball movie. It’s a story about race, relationships, on-court trash-talking, and above all else, it’s character driven.
What do you think of the list? What movies did I leave out? What movies are ranked in the wrong slots?