Best Basketball Movies of All Time (Part I)

May 8, 2020

If you love basketball, then you will love these movies.

It only makes sense that Jesus Shuttlesworth, one of the top athletes ever created for the film, says basketball is “poetry in motion.” When played at its best, the sport is a commemoration of power, grace, and movement set to a soundtrack of buzzers, squeaky shoes, and whistles. 

Here are some of the best basketball movies of all time that will have you heading to the hardwood.

Celtic Pride

It’s easy to mix up Daniel Stern with a younger Bill Simmons in Celtic Pride, the 1996 comedy co-written by Colin Quinn and Judd Apatow about a pair of Boston die-hards that revere their teams above all else. 

Desperate for the Celtics to beat the Jazz in Game 7 of the NBA Finals, Mike (Stern) and Jimmy (Dan Akroyd) kidnap and intoxicate Utah’s best player, Lewis Scott (Damon Wayans), which inevitably has larger implications than the final outcome of a basketball game.

Like Mike

Winning the award for most NBA cameos in one film, Like Mike tells the fantastical story of Calvin Cambridge (Lil’ Bow Wow), an orphan who laces up some old sneakers with the initials “MJ.” His ball skills immediately rise to superstar levels, triggering the fictional Los Angeles Knights to sign him. 

This seems like a marketing scheme until Cambridge waxes the floor with perennial All-Stars. He gets the father figure he’s always searched for in his much-taller teammate (Morris Chestnut), giving this brand-infused, career trampoline scenario just enough emotional pull.

Teen Wolf

For over a minute, the whole gymnasium goes quiet. Michael J. Fox has just altered into a werewolf and starts dribbling the basketball before shocked fans and teammates. 

The movie ranks lows when it comes to depicting quality basketball, but Teen Wolf, as his classmates come to call him, somehow becomes an amazing athlete, ball hog, and minor celebrity who fights to harness his eye-glowing, hair-growing instincts. The rationality of this is preposterous, but Fox has plenty of charm.