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Dunk into the world of basketball movies where every dribble and drama unfolds on screen.

From underdog triumphs to behind-the-scenes struggles, these films are more than just about the game.

Ready to explore the top 19 basketball movies, shows, and documentaries that are a slam dunk in storytelling?

Best Basketball Movies, Shows, and Documentaries:

  1. Space Jam (1996)
  2. Hoop Dreams (1994)
  3. He Got Game (1998)
  4. Coach Carter (2005)
  5. The Last Dance (2020) – Documentary
  6. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)
  7. Love & Basketball (2000)
  8. Blue Chips (1994)
  9. Glory Road (2006)
  10. Hoosiers (1986)
  11. Above the Rim (1994)
  12. Basketball Diaries (1995)
  13. One on One (1977)
  14. Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault (1996)
  15. The Way Back (2020)
  16. More Than a Game (2008) – Documentary
  17. Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks (2010) – Documentary
  18. Iverson (2014) – Documentary
  19. Uncle Drew (2018)

#1 Space Jam (1996)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Joe Pytka
  • 🌟 Starring: Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny (voice of Billy West), Wayne Knight, Theresa Randle, Danny DeVito (voice)

In Space Jam, basketball legend Michael Jordan teams up with the Looney Tunes in this unique blend of live-action and animation. After being pulled into the Looney Tunes’ world, Jordan helps Bugs Bunny and friends in a high-stakes basketball game against the villainous Monstars, who have stolen the talents of other NBA stars.

This family-friendly movie combines humor, sports, and beloved cartoon characters, offering an entertaining and heartwarming story about teamwork and determination.

Where to Watch: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#2 Hoop Dreams (1994)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Steve James

Hoop Dreams is a critically acclaimed documentary that follows the lives of two African-American high school students in Chicago and their dream of becoming professional basketball players.

Over the course of five years, the film documents their struggles, successes, and the high stakes of American sports culture. It offers an intimate and powerful look into the aspirations and realities of pursuing a dream in the challenging environment of inner-city life.

Where to Watch: Criterion Channel, HBO Max, Kanopy

#3 He Got Game (1998)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Spike Lee
  • 🌟 Starring: Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, Rosario Dawson

In He Got Game, a convict father (Denzel Washington) is released on parole with a mission to persuade his estranged son, a top-ranked basketball prospect (Ray Allen), to play for the governor’s alma mater.

Directed by Spike Lee, this film blends family drama with the pressures of high-stakes college basketball recruitment, showcasing the complex relationship between father and son against the backdrop of sport and redemption.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV

#4 Coach Carter (2005)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Thomas Carter
  • 🌟 Starring: Samuel L. Jackson, Channing Tatum, Ashanti

Coach Carter features the true story of Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson), a high school basketball coach who becomes famous for benching his undefeated team due to their poor academic results.

Emphasizing the importance of education over athletics, Carter faces both praise and criticism for his unorthodox methods. The film explores themes of discipline, respect, and the power of hard work both on and off the court.

Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Apple

#5 The Last Dance (2020) – Documentary

  • 🎬 Directed by: Jason Hehir

This gripping 10-part documentary series chronicles the career of Michael Jordan, focusing particularly on his final season with the Chicago Bulls.

The Last Dance combines exclusive footage from the 1997-1998 season with in-depth interviews with Jordan, his teammates, and other key figures in the basketball world. It offers an unprecedented look at the competitiveness, pressures, and triumphs of one of the greatest athletes in history.

Where to Watch: Netflix, ESPN+

#6 White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Ron Shelton
  • 🌟 Starring: Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez

White Men Can’t Jump is a lively and humorous portrayal of street basketball culture, starring Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as Sidney Deane and Billy Hoyle, two basketball hustlers with contrasting styles and backgrounds.

The film humorously captures their attempts to outdo each other on and off the court. Along with the comedy and competitive basketball scenes, the movie also delves into themes of friendship, trust, and the struggles of making a living.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#7 Love & Basketball (2000)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Gina Prince-Bythewood
  • 🌟 Starring: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Alfre Woodard

Love and Basketball is a romantic drama that follows the lives of Monica Wright and Quincy McCall, portrayed by Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, who are next-door neighbors and aspiring basketball players with dreams of going professional.

Spanning from their childhood through their adult lives, the film showcases their evolving relationship against the backdrop of their basketball careers. The film explores the challenges and triumphs they face in balancing their passion for the game with their personal relationship.

Where to Watch: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#8 Blue Chips (1994)

  • 🎬 Directed by: William Friedkin
  • 🌟 Starring: Nick Nolte, Shaquille O’Neal, Anfernee ‘Penny’ Hardaway

In Blue Chips, Nick Nolte plays a college basketball coach faced with the moral dilemma of recruiting talented players through unethical means to save his struggling program.

This film offers a critical look at the corruption and pressures in collegiate basketball, featuring real-life basketball stars Shaquille O’Neal and Anfernee Hardaway.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu

#9 Glory Road (2006)

  • 🎬 Directed by: James Gartner
  • 🌟 Starring: Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Jon Voight

Based on a true story, Glory Road follows coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) and the 1966 Texas Western College basketball team, the first all-African American starting lineup to win the NCAA national championship.

The film highlights issues of racism and discrimination, showcasing an inspiring journey towards equality and victory in sports.

Where to Watch: Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#10 Hoosiers (1986)

  • 🎬 Directed by: David Anspaugh
  • 🌟 Starring: Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper

In Hoosiers, controversial coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman) arrives in a small Indiana town to oversee a struggling high school basketball team. With the support of a talented but troubled player, an enthusiastic town drunk turned assistant coach (Dennis Hopper), and Coach Dale’s tough methods and dedication to helping them improve, the team starts to win.

They fight hard to overcome their challenges and aim for an unlikely state championship, showing how teamwork and determination can lead to amazing achievements.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Apple TV

#11 Above the Rim (1994)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Jeff Pollack
  • 🌟 Starring: Duane Martin, Tupac Shakur, Leon

Above the Rim focuses on the story of a promising high school basketball star Kyle Watson (Duane Martin) and his relationships with two brothers, one a drug dealer (Tupac Shakur) and the other a former basketball star (Leon).

The film is a powerful depiction of the challenges in balancing ambition, morality, and survival, set against the backdrop of a basketball court. It’s notable for its intense performances and its portrayal of the sport as a beacon of hope in tough circumstances.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV

#12 Basketball Diaries (1995)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Scott Kalvert
  • 🌟 Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Lorraine Bracco

Basketball Diaries is a harrowing drama based on the autobiographical book of the same name by Jim Carroll. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jim Carroll, a promising high school basketball player in New York City whose life spirals into addiction and crime.

The film portrays the dark side of teenage life and the challenges of substance abuse, showcasing DiCaprio’s powerful performance as a young man struggling with his inner demons, the pressures of his environment, and the difficult path to redemption.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#13 One on One (1977)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Lamont Johnson
  • 🌟 Starring: Robby Benson, Annette O’Toole, G. D. Spradlin

In One on One, Robby Benson stars as Henry Steele, a small-town high school basketball star who earns a scholarship to a major university. Facing the daunting challenges of college life and the pressures of college basketball, Steele struggles with demanding coaches, academic difficulties, and the realization that his high school success doesn’t guarantee college glory.

The film is a heartfelt coming-of-age story that captures the essence of growing up and the realization that life off the court is as challenging as the game on it.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#14 Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault (1996)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Eriq La Salle
  • 🌟 Starring: Don Cheadle, James Earl Jones, Michael Beach

Rebound: The Legend of Earl ‘The Goat’ Manigault is a biographical drama about one of the greatest street basketball players in New York City’s history. Don Cheadle delivers a remarkable performance as Earl Manigault, a player with immense talent who battles personal demons and societal obstacles.

The film explores Manigault’s rise, fall, and eventual redemption, highlighting his incredible athletic ability and the impact of the harsh realities of the streets and drugs on his life and career. This film is an inspiring testament to the human spirit and the enduring appeal of street basketball culture.

Where to Watch: YouTube

#15 The Way Back (2020)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Gavin O’Connor
  • 🌟 Starring: Ben Affleck, Al Madrigal, Janina Gavankar

The Way Back features Ben Affleck as Jack Cunningham, a former high school basketball star who has lost everything to alcoholism. He finds a chance at redemption when he is offered a coaching job at his alma mater.

As he struggles with his personal demons, he attempts to lead the underperforming basketball team to victory. This film is a moving and realistic portrayal of addiction, redemption, and the power of sports to heal and unite.

Where to Watch: HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV

#16 More Than a Game (2008) – Documentary

  • 🎬 Directed by: Kristopher Belman

This documentary follows the journey of five talented young basketball players from Akron, Ohio, including future NBA superstar LeBron James. More Than a Game chronicles their trials and triumphs from their early days playing together in youth basketball leagues to their time at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, where they became a nationally recognized basketball powerhouse.

The film is not just about their athletic prowess, but also about their brotherhood, their commitment to their community, and their journey to adulthood. It’s an inspiring story of friendship, dedication, and the transformative power of teamwork.

Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies & TV

#17 Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks (2010) – Documentary

  • 🎬 Directed by: Dan Klores

Part of ESPN’s “30 for 30” series, this documentary focuses on the rivalry between Reggie Miller, the Indiana Pacers’ star, and the New York Knicks in the 1990s. It delves into Miller’s extraordinary performances in the playoffs and his interactions with New York fans, notably filmmaker Spike Lee.

The film is a thrilling watch for any basketball fan, highlighting one of the sport’s most charismatic and controversial figures.

Where to Watch: ESPN, Amazon Prime Video

#18 Iverson (2014) – Documentary

  • 🎬 Directed by: Zatella Beatty

This documentary is an intimate, all-access look at the life of Allen Iverson, one of basketball’s most iconic and polarizing figures.

From his early life in Virginia to his successful career in the NBA, the film covers both the highs and lows of Iverson’s career and personal life. It’s a candid and personal exploration of the man behind the headlines.

Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

#19 Uncle Drew (2018)

  • 🎬 Directed by: Charles Stone III
  • 🌟 Starring: Kyrie Irving, Lil Rel Howery, Shaquille O’Neal

Uncle Drew is a sports comedy film based on a series of Pepsi Max advertisements. The film stars NBA player Kyrie Irving as the titular character, Uncle Drew, an elderly streetball legend.

He and a young man embark on a road trip to round up Drew’s old basketball squad and prove they can still win the big tournament. The film is filled with humor, and basketball action, and features several NBA stars in elderly makeup.

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu

Complement your viewing experience with our list of the best basketball books for deeper insights into the sport’s culture and history.

FAQ

What is the best basketball movie of all time?

“Space Jam” (1996) is the best basketball movie of all time, offering a unique blend of live-action and animation with Michael Jordan teaming up with Looney Tunes.

What are some good basketball movies?

“Coach Carter” (2005), “He Got Game” (1998), and “White Men Can’t Jump” (1992) are good basketball movies, each offering a unique perspective on the sport.

What basketball movies, shows, and documentaries are on Netflix?

The best basketball movies, shows, and documentaries on Netflix currently are “The Last Dance” (2020), “Coach Carter” (2005), and “Love & Basketball” (2000).

After watching, share your favorite moments with our list of basketball Instagram captions perfect for your next post.

Meet Rev, one of our dedicated team members who embodies the essence of sports passion. When he’s not immersed in the world of sports content creation, Rev is busy honing his skills in esports and exploring the great outdoors through activities like hiking and basketball.

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