Nate's Top 8: Basketball Movies

I got into a bit of a quote marathon today using the movie A Few Good Men, it made me want to run home and watch it. The only problem ... I don't own it. So, I decided to hop on Netflix and see what old school movie could replace it. Once I got to thinking about older movies, I started thinking about basketball movies and what my favorites are ... the following are my Top 8 favorite basketball movies.

 

Quick note: Can we get a good movie about an NBA team or NBA player please!?!?

 

For any of you that haven't seen many of my movie references, you need to know that I typically like pretty awful movies. Well, it's not that I just like awful movies ... it's more so that I've seen a lot of movies and for some reason I can easily remember them and think of how they may apply to the junk I tend to type.

The best part of lists like the following one is that they are obviously totally subjective, can be argued, made fun of, and laughed at. And with that, let's get to it ...

I chose just eight movies because I'd like to be able to add one or two as time goes on and I'll continue to hope that somebody will tackle the story of an NBA player in a unique way.

 

8.) Basketball Diaries - 1995

The basis: Basketball serves as a backdrop to the lives of a group of high school friends who experiment with drugs and alcohol until their lives spiral out of control. Main character Jim Carroll loses it all and through the help of a friend finally kicks drugs, but his once promising basketball dreams are long gone.

Reason I like it: The one guy who stayed the course, Neutron, goes on to have an All-American career, while his friends all screwed their lives up. You can't turn down a movie that has a good life saving turnaround (Carroll). I remember my sister watching this movie and thinking I was cool seeing it as a 14 year-old.

 

7.) Love & Basketball - 2000

The basis: Hey a romantic drama centering around basketball ... blah for most, but I like this crap. We get to follow sports movie star Omar Epps and his childhood girlfriend through their up-and-down careers balancing basketball and life.

Reason I like it: Games of the heart boys and girls, the fun you can have when the heart strings are pulled. Epps won me over early in his career with The Program so I'll follow him into any movie (Juice and Higher Learning). Plus this was one of the rare basketball movies that shows a little pro-ball in it as well.

 

6.) Semi-Pro - 2008

The basis: Funny man Will Ferrell aka Jackie Moon attempts to get his ABA team into the NBA merger that is looming. Stunts, antics, and some hilarity ensue.

Reason I like it: I didn't see it until I bought it and I HATED IT. I caught it on cable a couple times recently and now I'm upset I no longer own the thing. Movie cracked me up even though Ferrell is forced to carry most of it. Perhaps after reading the ABA book Loose Balls I was able to appreciate the movie more or maybe, like any Ferrell movie, it just gets better with each viewing.

 

5.) Sunset Park - 1996

The basis: Inner city team faces an uphill climb on their way to a successful season.

Reason I like it: After this one many more were made like it (think Coach Carter). There is a little Hoosiers in Sunset Park, but I recognize this kind of basketball much more as the movie is waaaaay more modern. The classic up-and-down theme is played out well in this little known flick.

 

4.) Above the Rim - 1994

The basis: Talented high-schooler let's his game get to his head and falls into the wrong crowd ... can he save himself and his career before it's too late?

Reason I like it: Tupac Shakur does what he does best ... plays the role of a ruthless gangster (like an older version of his character Bishop from Juice) and attempts to corrupt a kid for his own benefit. The basketball in the film towards the end is fairly unrealistic, but still pretty good as predictably the good guys go on a roll.

 

3.) He Got Game - 1998

The basis: Every college in America wants Jesus Shuttlesworth and everyone around him is in his ear. Ray Allen aka Jesus must figure out all the bullshit and do what is best for him. (Sounds familiar eh Melo?) Probably a pretty decent look at what highly sought after high school kids must go through.

Reason I like it: It was funny seeing Ray Allen try to act, I love Rosario Dawson, and Denzel Washington plays a good beat-down father figure who is too late to the party. Tons of cameos and an ending that will leave you scratching your head. It's also been fun referring to Allen as Jesus these past 12 years ... man I can't believe this movie is so old!

 

2.) White Men Can't Jump - 1992

The basis: Streetball hustlers running the courts in California try to figure out the ultimate hustle as one guy plays to move his family into a nice place and the other guy is just a screw up ... both share a love for the game.

Reason I like it: The movie holds up from a story standpoint, but the fashion is pretty bad. Also, I'm not sure how Billy Hoyle plays in his oversized Reebox Pumps. My favorite line comes after Hoyle does a good amount of trash talking at a two-on-two tournament from a player he'll face in the finals, "Tell Aunt Bee if she don't have my bean pies I'm gonna kick her ass." This gets me rolling every time ... who says that? The ultimate part in the end is Billy unknowingly choosing basketball over his girlfriend Gloria as Gloria, like many women in sports flicks, doesn't understand her man's love of the game. How can you not like a movie where a couple guys team up to follow their hoop dreams?

 

1.) Blue Chips - 1994

The basis: Coach Pete Bell has always been known for being honest and running a clean program as the world around him continues to become corrupted by the greed of winning. Bell, after enduring a tough losing season, has a shot to get back on top with some new recruits, but they wont come cheap (will he sell his soul?).

Reason I like it: When I was younger I was thrilled to see Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway and Shaquille O'Neal in a movie, but after watching it tonight I realize again that Nick Nolte carries the show. Nolte is basically a Bobby Knight clone, but for some reason I like his performance and feel that I can relate to his struggle about wanting to win. Ultimately Nolte experiences the price of winning in the "new world" and it disgusts him, he's now a dinosaur and his kind are extinct.

 

That's my list, I left a few major players off, but that's why it's my list. Feel free to share yours ...

 

 

 

ntimmons73@yahoo.com
Twitter: Nate_Timmons

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