It’s March, and that can only mean one thing: March Madness. Everybody’s filling out their brackets, and obsessing over every matchup. With that, here’s a look at my five favorite basketball movies of all time.
1) Coach Carter
Coach Carter starts with an underachieving, troublemaking basketball team in need of a new coach. Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) who was once a star player, takes over the role, and transforms the team. They experience trials and tribulations, but ultimately end up becoming one of the best basketball teams in the state, through Carter’s stern and tough love approach. It’s a great film filled with tons of great basketball moments and some superb acting.
2) Space Jam
This is a classic 90’s movie, and if you truly consider yourself a 90’s kid, you’ve seen it at least once. It’s a mix of live action and cartoon sequences with a cast headed by the greatest basketball player of all time, Michael Jordan and Looneytoons star Bugs Bunny. It’s hilarious and entertaining as anything else you can go see in the theaters now. Maybe it’s just fond memories for me, but Space Jam is a classic film.
3) Glory Road
Unlike most basketball films, Glory Road takes place when most African Americans weren’t allowed to play on the same team as a white man. This team, however, ends up going to the NCAA Division I championship. There are some outstanding performances from Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, and Emily Deschanel. Through hard work, the team wins a ton of games and gets to play in the championship. It’s also a true story, and that element bumps it up a bit.
4) Like Mike
The premise sounds almost like a pipe dream: A young orphan finds a pair of beat up sneakers that once belonged to Michael Jordan, and whenever he wears them, he has NBA talent. Crazy, right? But what works about this film is the wild ingenuity and the performances of stars Bow Wow and Morris Chestnut. This is also a film that has fond childhood memories for me, but even as I watch it now, I still enjoy it immensely.
Hoosiers is widely considered the greatest basketball films of all time, but I’ve got it on my list a little lower. Gene Hackman takes over a small town Indiana basketball team and goes on to win the state championship. Hackman is wonderful in this film, but none of the players really stand out. Maybe that’s why it’s only #3. Still it’s a great film with lots of fun basketball to watch, but I can’t put it above the other four.