Ever since Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball for his P. E. class, the sport has grown in popularity both in America and all around the world. Take a look back at the greatest basketball movies ever made.
5. “Coach Carter” (2005)
“Coach Carter” is a basketball movie that takes place at Richmond High School. Based on actual events, “Coach Carter” tells the story of coach Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) and how he handles his players’ poor academic performance. When he learns that their grades are not up to his standards, Carter refuses to let the team play until their grades improve. After forfeiting several games, the players eventually get their grades up and Richmond starts playing again. Although they qualify for the playoffs, Richmond loses in the first round to the #1 team in the state.
4. “Glory Road” (2006)
One of the most important events in college basketball history was when Texas Western College defeated Kentucky for the 1966 NCAA championship. The basketball movie that recounts this story is “Glory Road.” The significance of this is that it marked the first time an all black starting lineup won basketball’s NCAA title. To make his team as competitive as possible, coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) recruits and plays mostly black players. Despite threats and violence, Haskins starts five black players against Kentucky, knowing they give him the best chance at victory.
3. “White Men Can’t Jump” (1992)
The only comedy on the list, “White Men Can’t Jump” examines the popularly held myth that white people are not as good at basketball as black people. Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson) makes a living out of hustling black basketball players on the street who think they can’t possibly lose to a white player. Eventually, he meets Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) on the court. Initially, the two are adversaries but later they become partners and work together. Rosie Perez is outstanding as Billy’s Hispanic girlfriend Gloria Clemente.
2. “Hoop Dreams” (1994)
“Hoop Dreams” is a riveting documentary that follows two basketball stars throughout their high school years in Chicago, IL. One boy, Arthur Agee, has talent, but is considered too short to play for powerhouse St. Joseph High School. He eventually transfers to a public school and has a fine career. William Gates, on the other hand, is immensely talented. However, injuries and problems with the coach curtail his play at St. Joseph. According to imdb.com, the basketball movie “Hoop Dreams” was nominated for one Academy Award.
1. “Hoosiers” (1986)
Usually reserved for baseball films, “Hoosiers” is one of the few basketball movies that successfully portrays the nostalgic aspect of the sport. Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) is hired to coach basketball at Hickory High School, a small school in Indiana. Despite his unorthodox and controversial methods, Dale leads Hickory to the state title. However, the true star of the film is Dennis Hopper, who plays a town drunk that becomes a valuable assistant coach during the season. According to imdb.com, the basketball movie “Hoosiers” was nominated for two Academy Awards.
“Hoop Dreams,” imdb.com