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Our definitive ranking of the 10 best basketball movies ever

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Best Basketball Movies of all time, top 10, films

How many have you seen? Follow along, as we list the 10 best basketball movies ever made.

Outside of football (soccer), basketball may be the most globally followed sport in the world. Millions all over the world play it and passionately follow their favourite teams. Millions also tune in to movies about the sport.

Much like all American sports, there’s a lot about basketball that is perfect for Hollywood. The comebacks, the late-game time outs and the ability to uplift a community. All of these factor into why basketball movies are some of the greatest sporting movies ever made.

To compile our list of the best basketball movies ever, we ran our eye over the rankings of some prestigious movie and sports sites and pulled together an aggregate score that formed our list. We felt this was the fairest way possible, ensuring our personal opinions did not sway the final standings.

In our search for the best sports movies of all time, we’ve already assessed a top 10 for both American football and baseball. You can check our rankings for those sports out here, and here!

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The 10 best basketball movies ever

Honourable mentions

Glory Road, The Way Back, Rebound and Finding Forrester all just missed out on a place on our list of the 10 best basketball movies ever.

10. Coach Carter, 2005

If you don’t know Coach Carter, what have you been doing? Living under a rock? It’s a certified classic. If you haven’t watched it, stop what you’re doing and throw it on. Few movies are as inspirational as this one. If you watch this and don’t feel like running through a brick wall afterwards, something’s wrong.

9. Air, 2023

You know the brand. Everyone knows the brand. Air Jordan. It’s probably the most iconic sporting brand around. But did you know the story of the brand’s formation way back in 1984 when MJ was just known as Michael Jordan and NIKE was just known for runners?

We bet you didn’t. Air, starring Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, tells that story to the masses.

best basketball movies
Matt Damon and Ben Affleck teamed up for Air, the story about the formation of the Air Jordan brand

8. Blue Chips, 1994

Watch Blue Chips for a stellar supporting cast of NBA stars, including Shaq, Penny Hardaway, Larry Bird and Bob Cousy, stay for a story about a college coach hoping to recruit to his struggling side by paying some of the country’s brightest prospects.

7. Hustle, 2022

Perhaps not the Adam Sandler basketball flick you expected to make this list. Does Uncut Gems even count as a basketball movie? If not, Sandler’s 2022 flick, Hustle, certainly does. Boban Marjanovic and Anthony Edwards star, while Juancho Hernangomez, the film’s non-Sandler protagonist, plays like Lebron James throughout.

6. Above the Rim, 1994

What does a promising high school baller do when he needs to select between his school team or one run by a drug dealer to compete in a local tournament with? Above the Rim, starring Tupac Shakur, Marlon Wayans and Bernie Mac, explains.

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5. Space Jam, 1996

It wouldn’t be a basketball movie rankings list without Space Jam, would it? Are you surprised it’s not higher than fifth? We certainly are.

4. Hoosiers, 1986

You can’t have a rankings list of basketball movies without Hoosiers, which follows a small-town Indiana high school team as they enter the state championship. It’s inspired by the Milan High School side that won the 1954 Indiana state championship.

3. Love & Basketball, 2000

What happens when the romance and sports genres overlap? You get Love & Basketball, a story that chronicles the lives of its two protagonists, Monica and Quincy. Much like an actual game, the film’s plot is split into four quarters.

2. White Men Can’t Jump, 1992

Woody Harrelson. Wesley Snipes. What more can you want? Like many on our list, White Men Can’t Jump is a certified classic. As we learn throughout the film, white men can in fact jump, and hustle.

1. He Got Game, 1998

Spike Lee and basketball films are a marriage as old as time. The pair go together like ice cream and sprinkles. Add Denzel Washington and Ray Allen, yes, that Ray Allen, to Lee’s directorial and screenwriting and you get He Got Game, a classic of the sports movie genre.

Kyle Robbins
Kyle Robbins
Kyle is a senior sports writer and producer at Only Sports who lives and breathes sport, with a particular burning passion for everything soccer, rugby league, and cricket. You’ll most commonly find him getting overly hopeful about the Bulldogs and Chelsea’s prospects. Find Kyle on LinkedIn.

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