Basketball Movies

* Recommended Titles

High School Hero (1927)… Nick Stuart, Sally Phipps, William Bailey, John Darrow, Wade Boteler. Pete Greer and Bill Merrill try to win the affections of Eleanor Barrett through the high school play and in the big game.

Campus Confessions (1938)… William Henry, Betty Grable, Thurston Hall, Fritz Feld, John Arledge, Lane Chandler, Roy Gordon, Matty Kemp. Silly Hollywood college film noted for the appearance of Hank Luisetti, generally credited as the inventor of the one-handed shot in basketball. Luisetti appeared after graduation from Stanford University. He also was voted the second most influential basketball player (behind George Mikan) in the first half of the 20th century.

The Harlem Globetrotters (1951)… Thomas Gomez, Dorothy Dandridge, Bill Walker, Angela Clarke.  Young Bill Townsend drops out of college to join the famous independent Trotter team. He also finds romance along the way. "Goose" Tatum and fancy dribbler Marcus Haynes were the star players of the Globetrotters at the time and Abe Saperstein was the owner. Tatum, Haynes, Babe Presley, Ermer Robinson, Duke Cumberland, Clarence Wilson, Pop Gates, Frank Washington, Ted Strong and other current team members appear in the film as themselves. Also featured is a lot of actual game footage (three times against the Celtics with Tony Lavelli and Big Bob Hahn) including their famous "Sweet Georgia Brown" warm-up routine. [Along with making the film, the team toured Major League Baseball stadiums that year and went on their first tour of South America.]

The Basketball Fix (1951)… John Ireland, Marshall Thompson, Vanessa Brown, William Bishop, John Sands. A college basketball star (Johnny Long) reluctantly accepts money from a big time gambler (Mike Taft) and becomes involved in point shaving. A sportswriter, who tells the story from his point of view, tries to get him back on the right track. Pretty good effort for the time.

Go, Man, Go (1954)… Dane Clark, Pat Breslin, Sidney Poitier, Edmond Ryan. History of the Globetrotters from their inception in 1927 by white manager Abe Saperstein. Clark plays Saperstein and Poitier plays an assistant coach. Much better than the previous effort. "Meadowlark" Lemon, in his first of 24 years with the Globetrotters, Ermer Robinson and Willie Gardner were the stars of the team in '54. The film was actually made in 1953 and directed by James Wong Howe, the famed cinematographer. [The name of the opposing white team was omitted in the movie for fear of a box office flop if an all-black team defeated a “known” white team. These were Red Klotz's famous teams variously known as the Washington Generals, Boston Shamrocks, Baltimore Rockets, New York Nationals, Atlantic City Seagulls, and the New Jersey Reds, which started regularly playing the Trotters in '53.]

Tall Story (1960)… Anthony Perkins, Jane Fonda, Ray Walston, Marc Connelly, Anne Jackson, Murray Hamilton. Fonda (in film debut) falls for Custer College star Ray Blent. Unfortunately, Perkins is no athlete as he proved three years earlier in Fear Strikes Out. Interesting for the cast and time period though.

The Absent-Minded Professor (1961)… Fred MacMurray, Leon Ames, Edward Andrews, Raymond Bailey, Paul Frees, Forrest Lewis, Jack Mullaney, Nancy Olson, Ed Wynn, Keenan Wynn. A popular Disney action film starring the inimitable Fred MacMurray as the addled professor who invents a miraculous anti-gravity substance he calls "flubber."  It gets used to, among other things, propel his college's basketball team to victory and send his Model T on a flight around Washington, D.C.  Almost 50 years old, it still delights.

Drive, He Said (1972)… William Tepper, Karen Black, Michael Margotta, Bruce Dern, David Ogden Stiers. Drama (directorial debut by Jack Nicholson) about an Ohio college basketball star being pressured to quit and become a campus activist. Dern is excellent as his intense college coach. Realistic basketball scenes featuring ex-NBA player Mike Warren.

Maurie (1973)… Bernie Casey, Bo Svenson. True story of Cincinnati Royals star and 1958 Rookie of the Year Maurice Stokes and his battle with paralysis (from an accidental blow to the head) that cut his career short in the late 50s. Svenson plays teammate Jack Twyman who dedicated himself to Stokes' rehab. Originally known as Big Mo, it was re-released in the mid-70s with the final death scene cut and an upbeat ending inserted. Announcer Chris Schenkel has a cameo.

Shirts/Skins (1973)… Bill Bixby, Doug McClure, Leonard Frey, Rene Auberjonois, McLean Stevenson, Robert Walden, Loretta Switt, Audrey Christie. A weekly pick-up basketball game turns into a dumb hide-and-seek contest of egos. Good cast but below average script. Warning: these guys cannot play ball.

The Gambler (1974)… James Caan, Paul Sorvino, Lauren Hutton, Morris Carnovsky, Burt Young, Vic Tayback, Steven Keats, James Woods, Stuart Margolin. A college professor's compulsive gambling habit forces a star basketball player to shave points in the big game. Average at best. Announcers Dick Schaap and Chick Hearn have cameos.

Mixed Company (1974)… Barbara Harris, Joseph Bologna, Tom Bosley. Comedy of perennially losing Phoenix Suns coach coping with his adopted children.

Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975)… Moses Gunn, Bernie Casey, Rosalind Cash, Madge Sinclair, Keith Wilkes, Tierre Turner. Overly dramatic story of youth trying to escape the ghetto on a basketball scholarship. Plot turns away from the sport after the police accidentally shoot him. Also known as Hit the Open Man.

One On One (1977)… Robby Benson, Annette O'Toole, G.D.Spradlin, Gail Strickland, Melanie Griffith. Small town high school star Henry Steele tries to make it big in college despite corruption and a tough coach. The film tries to show how a clean-cut athlete can rise above the establishment and succeed. Not bad with some realistic basketball scenes.

Coach (1978)… Cathy Lee Crosby, Michael Biehn, Keenan Wynn, Sydney Wicks. Olympic Gold medalist Randy Rawlings is mistakenly hired to coach the boys’ high school basketball team. Sidney Wicks has a cameo.

Fast Break (1979)… Gabe Kaplan, Harold Sylvester, Bernard King, Mike Warren. College coach Kaplan recruits New York street players to improve his pathetic Nevada college team. One of them is female star Mavis Washington who conceals her sexual identity to play on the team. Better than expected. King and Warren played in the NBA. Laurence Fishburne has a bit part as a street kid.

The American Game (1979)… Stretch Graham, Brian Walker, Nathaniel Bellamy Jr., Gil Ferschtman, Julius Erving. Feature-length documentary follows the paths of two high school stars, one from a small town Indiana middle class family and the other from a Brooklyn ghetto as colleges recruit both players. It shows how each can achieve success with the support of family, friends and coaches.

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh (1979)… Julius Erving, James Bond III, Stockard Channing, Jonathan Winters, Flip Wilson, Meadowlark Lemon, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The fish (the astrological sign for Pisces) might have saved the city’s basketball team (Pittsburgh Pythons) but it couldn't save this clunker. Norm Nixon and Marv Albert have cameos.

Inside Moves (1980)… John Savage, David Morse, Diana Scarwid, Amy Wright, Tony Burton, Bill Henderson, Bert Remsen, Harold Russell. Basketball is secondary in drama of confused youth trying to find himself. Might be a bit too emotional for it’s own good. Clifford Ray, Al Attles, Robert Parrish and Jo Jo White have cameos.

The Harlem Globetrotters On Gilligan’s Island (1980)… Bob Denver, The Harlem Globetrotters.

That Championship Season (1982)… Bruce Dern, Stacy Keach, Robert Mitchum, Martin Sheen, Paul Sorvino, Arthur Franz. Disappointing attempt to adapt Arthur Miller's fine play to the big screen. Story centers on reunion of 1957 Scranton PA high school champion basketball team and their coach – and what they find out about themselves.

* Hoosiers (1986)… Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey, Dennis Hopper. Hackman coaches a 1950's Indiana high school team in what could be his last shot at a title. Director David Anspaugh and writer Angelo Pizzo do a great job of creating the atmosphere and the mood of the times. Without a doubt the best basketball movie ever made. [The movie was based on real life coach Marvin Wood who guided the 1954 Milan High School basketball team to an upset miracle victory and the state championship. Former players said that the mild-mannered, but firm Wood was not the gruff Hickory High coach portrayed by Hackman.]

Teen Wolf (1985)… Michael J. Fox, James Hampton, Scott Paulin, Susan Ursitti, Jerry Levine, Jim MacKrell. Hokey comedy about teenage werewolf Scott Howard, but worth seeing once for his on-the-court transformation. Forget the sequel.

Amazing Grace and Chuck (1987)… Jamie Lee Curtis, Alex English, Gregory Peck, William L. Peterson, Joshua Zuehlke, Dennis Lipscombe, Lee Richardson. A little league pitcher quits the team until all nuclear weapons are destroyed. English plays Boston Celtic star Amazing Grace Smith who joins him. Worth a view but only if you have a vivid imagination. Celtics coach Red Auerbach has a cameo.

* Pistol: The Birth of a Legend (1991)… Adam Guier, Millie Perkins, Nick Benedict, Boots Garland. The story of Pistol Pete Maravich, who starred in high school, college and the NBA with a flashy style of play all his own. This film focuses on 1959, the year Pete made the varsity high school team as an eighth grader. Maravich died suddenly from a heart attack in 1988 at age 40.

Heaven is a Playground (1991)… Explores the roots of inner city basketball more recently seen in the documentary Hoop Dreams. The plot revolves around Truth Harrison who, on the verge of signing his first pro contract, becomes addicted to cocaine. No major stars here as Michael Jordan was originally contracted to play the lead. Based on the 1974 Rick Telander book of the same name. Bo Kimble, Hakeem Olajuwon, Kendall Gill and other NBA players appear.

One Special Victory (1991)… John Larroquette, Kathy Baker, Christine Estabrook, Dirk Blocker, Gregory Millar, Joseph Asaro, Beah Richards, Ray Walston, Phil Hartman. Cocky executive salesman gets in trouble and is sentenced to coach a mentally handicapped basketball team. TV-movie is based on a true story.

* White Men Can't Jump (1992)… Wesley Snipes, Woody Harrelson, Rosie Perez, Tyra Ferrell. Comedy film is entertaining and fast-paced with snappy dialog and outstanding athleticism throughout. Directed and written by Ron Shelton who was also responsible for Bull Durham. The opening hustle is the highlight but you got to also love the Venice Beach Boys. Alex Trebek and Chick Hearn have cameos.

Final Shot: The Hank Gathers Story (1992)… Victor Love, Duane Davis, George Kennedy, Nell Carter. True story of Hank Gathers from Loyola Marymount who collapsed and died during an NCAA tournament game. Plot revolves around two rivals who become friends. Stanley Clark did the score. Made for TV-movie worth seeing once.

* Blue Chips (1994)… Nick Nolte, Mary McDonnell, J.T.Walsh, Ed O'Neill, Shaquille O'Neill, Anfernee Hardaway, Matt Nover, Bob Cousy. The dark side of college recruitment includes money laundering and under-the-table payoffs. Nolte (North Dallas Forty) gives another fine performance as coach Pete Bell. Written by Ron Shelton (Bull Durham, White Men Can't Jump). Look for scene where Boston Celtic Hall of Famer Bob Cousy demonstrates his free throw technique. Many cameos including Larry Bird, Bobby Knight, Rick Pitino, Dick Vitale, Jerry Tarkanian and Robert Wuhl.

The Air Up There (1994)… Kevin Bacon, Charles Gitonga. Assistant college coach Jimmy Dolan spots a talented African youngster on film and travels halfway around the world to recruit him and becomes involved with his Winabi tribe's local problems. Filmed on location in Toronto, Kenya and South Africa. Bob McAdoo served as technical advisor. Not bad.

Hoop Dreams (1994)… William Gates, Arthur Agee. The true story of two young men (playing themselves) seeking athletic scholarships at Catholic High School with dreams of playing in the NBA. A slice of real life hits home with pressing academic, sociological and religious issues. Also provides insight into high school and college recruitment. Documentary style filming might be letdown to those expecting big Hollywood production. Bobby Knight, Spike Lee, Isaiah Thomas, Dick Vitale and other college coaches have cameos.

Above the Rim (1994)… Duane Martin, Leon, Tupac Shakur, David Bailey, Tonya Pinkins, Marlon Wayans, Bernie Mac, Byron Minns. New York City drama about a young high school star Kyle Watson trying to escape inner city crime and realize his dream to play for Georgetown. Worth seeing once.

The St. Tammany Miracle (1994)… Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Soleil Moon Frye, Jamie Luner, Jeffrey Meek, Steve Allen, Harry Fleer, Julie McCullough. After evaluating the caliber of her girl's high school basketball team, the new coach has a lot of work to do to make them winners.  But, somehow, she takes them all the way to the state championship.  An inspiring story.   

* Basketball Diaries (1995)… Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Bruno Kirby, Marilyn Sokol, Mark Wahlberg, James Modio, Ernie Hudson. More crime and drugs than basketball, the movie is still worth a look for the remarkable performance of DiCaprio, the Catholic High School star Jim Carroll turned street junkie. Based on a true story and Carroll's book of the same name. He also has a cameo as Frankie Pinewater. Not for the kids.

Annie O (1995)… Rob Stewart, Coco Yares, Chad Willett. Female phenom Annie Rojas tries out for the boy's basketball team. The team captain, the coach and her best friend believe in her - the others don't. Made for TV.

Forget Paris (1995)…Billy Crystal, Debra Winger, Joe Mantegna, Cynthia Stevenson, Richard Masur, Julie Kavner. Romantic comedy with Crystal (who also produced, directed and co-wrote) playing an NBA referee who falls in love and marries Winger after his father dies. Daivid Sanbourn, Marv Alpert, Bill Walton, Dan Majerle, Kevin Johnson, Patrick Ewing, Chris Mullin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Isaiah Thomas, Bill Laimbeer, Kurt Rambis, Reggie Miller, Charles Barkley and David Robinson have cameos.

Slam Dunk Ernest (1995)… Jim Varney, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jay Brazeau. Local player struggles to make his neighborhood team until a basketball angel lends him some magic shoes. Fourth film (and hopefully last) in the "Ernest" series.

* Celtic Pride (1996)… Damon Wayans, Daniel Stern, Dan Aykroyd, Gail O'Grady. Two confused Celtic fans -- a frustrated high school coach and a lonely plumber -- decide to kidnap star Utah Jazz player Lewis Scott before game #7 of the NBA finals. The basketball version of The King of Comedy is worth seeing since it does have has it's moments but runs out of steam in the second half. Filmed at the old Boston Garden. Demolition of the Garden can be seen during the closing credits. Cameos by Marv Alpert, Chris Berman, Larry Bird, Bob Cousy, Deion Sanders and Bill Walton. Don't forget to Meet the Bongo Man.

* Space Jam (1996)… Michael Jordan, Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, Bill Murray and Wayne Knight with Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Mugsy Bogues, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson. The Tune Stars take on the Monstars in the wildest basketball game you'll ever want to see. The kids will love it. Features many cameos including the complete Looney Tunes cartoon lineup from Warner Brothers.

* Eddie (1996)… Whoopie Goldberg, Frank Langella, Dennis Farina, Richard Jenkins with John Salley, Rick Fox, Malik Sealy, Mark Jackson, Dwayne Schintzius and Greg Ostertag. Super fan Eddie Franklin becomes head coach of the New York Knicks by being in the right place at the right time. Features numerous cameos of NBA stars and New York celebrities. Suitable for the kids too.

* Rebound (1996)… Don Cheadle, James Earl Jones, Michael Beach, Clarence Williams III, Eriq La Salle, Forest Whitaker. The true story of the legendary Earl, The Goat" Manigault, the Harlem playground star who lost his chance at NBA stardom because of drugs. (He finally got a tryout in 1971 with the ABA Utah Stars but was released). He sobered up and ran an Inner City drug program until he died of heart failure in 1998. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who once called the slam-dunking Manigault the best player he ever saw, appears briefly at the beginning of the film. Announcer Chick Hearn has a cameo.

Sunset Park (1996)… Rhea Perlman, Fedro Starr, Carol Kane, Terrence DaShon Howard. Worn out story of high school teacher forced to coach an undisciplined boy's basketball team. Perlman makes it work though and turns them into winners.

Soul in the Hole (1996)… A documentary on one of the top inner-city street basketball team, Kenny's Kings, coached by Kenny Jones and led by 17-year-old star point guard Ed "Booger" Smith. Smith was once on the cover of Sports Illustrated but drugs and poor decisions tore up his life.

The 6th Man (1997)… Marlon Wayans, Kadeem Hardison, David Paymer, Michael Michele, Kevin Dunn, Gary Jones. Disney's fantasy about a dead college basketball star returning to help his brother and the Washington Huskies to the NCAA championship. Film suffers from poor script and dialog, especially from the idiot announcers and assistant coach. Nice special effects though with a few funny bits thrown in. Jerry Tarkanian, John Thompson, Billy Packer, Dick Vitale and others have cameos. Not bad.

Air Bud (1997)… Kevin Zegers, Wendy Makkena, Michael Jeter, Bill Cobbs, Eric Christmas. Buddy, a golden retriever, runs away from his mean owner, befriends a 12-year-old boy and becomes the mascot for the school basketball team. Disney comedy is once again strictly for the kids.

Bad as I Wanna Be: The Dennis Rodman Story (1998)… Dwayne Adway, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Dee Wallace Stone, John Terry. Rodman narrates his own story of an all-star in the NBA who rose from the Dallas projects but never played high school ball. Sub-plot involves his relationship with a youth team boy and his family in Oklahoma. Adway does a good job in this TV-movie and can play ball too.

* He Got Game (1998)… Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, Milla Jovovich, Rosario Dawson, Hill Harper, Zelda Harris, Jim Brown, Bill Nunn, John Turturro. Emotional story of an ex-con trying to inspire his unforgiving, but very talented son to play basketball. The film plays on this relationship, in and out of flashback, but also points to the extreme pressure today's world places on aspiring athletes. Allen, of the Milwaukee Bucks, proves to be more than adequate in his first starring role. Fellow NBA players Travis Best, Rick Fox, John Wallace and Walter McCarty also appear with cameos by Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal. Spike Lee's crowning achievement to date.

Baseketball (1998)… Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Yasmine Bleeth, Jenny McCarthy, Robert Vaughn, Robert Stack, Ernest Borgnine. A couple of losers invent a new game in their driveway combining basketball shooting with baseball scoring rules. It catches on and they become national celebrities. From the creators of South Park and Naked Gun but the language is too strong for the kiddies. Too bad because the kids are the only ones who could possibly like it. Cameos by Reggie Jackson, Tim McCarver, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Dale Earnhardt, Al Michaels, Bob Costas, Dan Patrick and Kenny Mayne. Psyche Out, Dude!

City Dump: The Story of the 1951 CCNY Basketball Scandal (1998)… HBO documentary about the seven members of the City College of New York (CCNY) basketball team who conspired with gamblers to fix games over the 1949-1950 and 1950-1951 seasons.

Big and Hairy (1998)… Robert Burke, Trevor Jones, Greg Thirloway, Richard Thomas. A boy convinces a Sasquatch to join his struggling basketball team. Good fun for the whole family.

New Jersey Turnpikes (1999)… Kelsey Grammer, Robert Conrad, Orlando Jones, Layton Morrison, Jason Segel, Lee Majors, Jim Brown, Marcus Brown, Mike Starr. Story of an ABA team whose owners are trying to join the NBA during the '70s. The three teams with the best record have already been invited to the NBA so a fourth owner tries to build attendance through wild promotions so the league will take his franchise, too. Filmed in documentary format with a comedy bent. Dave DeBusschere has a cameo. [In fact, Denver, San Antonio, Indiana and the Nets were absorbed into the NBA in 1976.]

* Passing Glory (1999)… Andre Braugher, Rip Torn, Ruby Dee, Arthur Agee. TNT made-for-TV movie is based on the true story of a black New Orleans high school team playing the white champions during the segregated mid-60s. Well done. Directed by Steve James (Hoop Dreams).

* The Basket (1999)… Peter Coyote, Karen Allen, Robert Karl Burke, Amber Willenborg, Jock MacDonald, Elwon Bakly, Jack Bannon, Casey Cowan, Eric Dane, Tony Lincoln, Brian Skala, Ellen Travolta, Joey Travolta, Patrick Treadway. Shortly after World War I, a new teacher brings basketball to the school. A few moving side stories about death, prejudice, history, opera and basketball. Interesting depictions of the early game when a peach basket was nailed to a wall or a barn with the players making crude attempts to sink a shot.

Game Day (1999)… Richard Lewis, Sean Squire, Gerry Becker, Alicia Minshew, Brenton Birmingham, Lee Bryan, Valorie Hubbard, Hillel Meltzer. Steven Adler is a former successful Division 1 basketball coach forced into taking a job in a second-rate town after several championship game losses. But he also takes his new team to the finals and tries to find meaning in his own life. Definitely worth a look.

Michael Jordan: An American Hero (1999)… Michael Jace, Robin Givens, Ernie Hudson, Debbie Allen, Christopher Jacobs, Lou Rawls, Cordereau Dye, Dari G. Smith. Bland made-for-cable movie is part fiction since Jordan did not want his life portrayed on film. This "unauthorized" story depicts Jordan as a dedicated athlete and family man and also touches on gambling and the murder of his father. [Allen, who plays Jordan's mother, is actually married to ex-LA Laker Norm Nixon. She is also the sister-in-law of Jordan's best friend Ahmad Rashad. Givens, who plays his wife, was once married to Mike Tyson.]

That Championship Season (1999)… Vincent D'Onofrio, Terry Kinney, Tony Shalhoub, Gary Sinise, Paul Sorvino. Better attempt at Arthur Miller's play, this time to the TV screen, about the reunion of 1957 Scranton PA high school champion basketball team and their coach – and what they find out about themselves. Remake of the 1982 movie of the same name.

* Michael Jordan to the Max (2000)… Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, Doug Collins, Bob Greene, Bob Costas, Dean Smith, Deloris Jordan, Fred Lynch, Walter Iooss Jr., Bill Murray, Laurence Fishburne. A documentary on the life and career of Michael Jordan, through interviews with Jordan, teammates and friends, focusing on the 1998 championship series. Very well done. David Falk, Ken Griffey Jr., Johnny 'Red' Kerr, Steve Kerr, Spike Lee, Willie Mays, Stan Musial, Jack Ramsay and Ahmad Rashad have cameos.

* Finding Forrester (2000)… Sean Connery, Rob Brown, F. Murray Abraham, Anna Paquin, Busta Rhymes, April Grace, Michael Pitt, Michael Nouri, Richard Easton. Jamal Wallace, an excellent basketball player with exceptional writing talent, is sent to a prestigious prep school in Manhattan to play ball. He befriends a reclusive old writer, William Forrester, which helps both realize their dreams. Lots of basketball action. Alex Trebek has a cameo.

Love & Basketball (2000)… Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Dennis Haysbert, Debbi Morgan, Alfre Woodard, Harry J. Lennix, Regina Hall. Pretty good story about a couple’s love affair and also the commitment to the sport they both love. Former NBA players Charles O'Bannon, Terry Cummings and Trevor Wilson and announcers Chick Hearn, Stu Lantz, Dick Vitale and Robin Roberts have cameos. Worth seeing.

Whatever Happened to Micheal Ray? (2000)… Chris Rock narrates a documentary on Micheal Ray Richardson who played guard for New York Knicks (1978-82), Golden State Warriors (1982-83) and New Jersey Nets (1983-86) and made the all-star team. In 1986 NBA commissioner David Stern banned him for life after he violated the league's drug policy three times. He was restored in 1988, but failed two cocaine tests in 1991. He complained that the suspensions were unfair given the fact that because a white player at the time was never disciplined for an alcohol problem.

On Hallowed Ground: Streetball Champions of Rucker Park (2001)… TNT Documentary of legendary Rucker Park in New York's Harlem that was the home to countless pickup tournaments. Wilt Chamberlain, Connie Hawkins, Vince Carter, Pee Wee Kirkland, Julius "Dr. J" Erving, Allen Iverson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Joe Hammond, Elton Brand and of course Earl "the Goat" Manigault have all played there.

Harvard Man (2001)… Adrian Grenier, Sarah Michelle Gellar, Joey Lauren Adams, Eric Stoltz, Rebecca Gayheart, Gianni Russo, Ray Allen. A Boston College cheerleader, whose father is a Mafia boss, gets her Harvard point guard boyfriend in gambling trouble. Allen, a pro player, also appeared in He Got Game. Al Franken appears as himself.

Boys Klub (2001)… Beau Bridges, Rachel Hunter, Chancey Leopardi, Patrick Renna. Mario is looking forward to spending time with his dad, but is devastated when his dad has to cancel their camping trip and he is sent off to live with his aunt in San Francisco.  His attitude takes an unexpected turn, however, when he meets some local kids and they form a basketball team.  What Mario was sure would be a dull, horrible summer turns out to be just the opposite.

O (2001)… Mekhi Phifer, Josh Hartnett, Julia Stiles, Elden Henson, Martin Sheen, Andrew Keegan, Rain Phoenix, John Heard, Anthony Johnson. Shakespeare’s Othello update with Odin 'O' James and Hugo Goulding as the lead characters displaying friendship and jealousy in high school. A young man’s best friend lies and says that his beautiful girlfriend is cheating on him leading to horrific results. The film was completed in 1998, but its release date was held back due to recent high school violence. Warning: Disturbing content including murder and rape should not be shown to children.

Hoop Soldiers (2001)… Byron Browne, Ahmed Cannon, Angelica Frost, Larry 'Tank' Jones, Cassandra King. A lawyer returns to her hometown to investigate the mysterious death of her brother, who was involved in underground, boxing/basketball matches.

* A Season on the Brink (2002)… Brian Dennehy, Al Thompson, James Lafferty, Duane Murray, Gary Hudson, Benz Antoine, Phoenix Gonzales, Patrick Williams, Thomas Hauff, Dan Becker, Manfred Maretzki, Chad Bruce. TV-movie about controversial basketball coach Bobby Knight is based on the best-selling book by John Feinstein. The movie chronicles Indiana's 1985-86 season, when Knight allowed Feinstein access to the team’s practices and meetings. Digger Phelps has a cameo. An ESPN Original Entertainment (EOE) production.

Red Sneakers (2002)… Dempsey Pappion, Vanessa Bell Calloway, Vincent D'Onofrio, Ruben Santiago-Hudson, Gregory Hines, Jordan Walker, Makyla Smith. Pappion plays Reggie, an A-student and manager of the high school basketball team. He'd rather play, but he stinks with the rock. One day he meets a junk dealer who gives him a pair of old red high-top canvass basketball sneakers that supposedly once belonged to a star in the 1930s Negro basketball leagues.  Wearing the old shoes, Reggie becomes the team's go-to player and a BMOC. But success brings trouble, as a major sports shoe company offers him a wad of money to endorse and wear the company's shoes.  If Reggie switches shoes, will he be back to riding the bench? Hines also directed this TV-movie.

Crossing the Line (2002)… Terry Farrell, Adrian Pasdar. Farrell plays a former All-American basketball player who lands a job as assistant coach for a three-time championship girls' high school basketball team.  After the head coach has a heart attack, she takes over and clashes with several parents who push their daughters to win at all costs. After one parent slugs a ref in the mouth at one game and an ugly brawl breaks out between players' parents during at another game, she realizes she must take a stand. This riveting drama explores the question: What happens when parents go too far in pushing their kids? Well done.

King of the Streets: The Ed "Booger" Smith Story (2002)… Booger Smith was a Harlem playground legend who made his share of mistakes (mostly with drugs), but remains an inspiration for playing basketball at the highest level.

:03 from Gold (2002)… HBO documentary on the controversial US-USSR game in the Munich Olympics.

Something to Cheer About (2002)… Documentary on the Crispus Attucks Tigers, the first all-black high school basketball team to win a state championship.

Big Shot: Confessions of a Campus Bookie (2002)… David Krumholtz, Tory Kittles, Jennifer Morrison, Nicholas Turturro, Zachary Levi. Benny Silman, an Arizona State University freshman, takes bets for the school's basketball games, then begins operating his own bookie ring. Based on a real-life 1994 scandal.

Double Teamed (2002)… Poppi Monroe, Annie McElwain, Teal Redmann, Nick Searcy, Tanya Goott, Joey Miyashima, Mackenzie Phillips, Chris Olivero. The true story of WNBA players Heather and Heidi Burge. They begin to develop their volleyball skills at an inner-city school but then transfer to a bigger school and wind up playing basketball instead. Very good Disney movie.

Don’t Nobody Love the Game More than Me (2002)… Barry Bradford, Craig Alan Edwards, Guy A. Fortt, Ezra Knight.  A pick-up game of two-on-two on the neighborhood court turns into a dialogue about who loves the game the most and leads to riffs on not just basketball, but on pride and dedication.

Juwanna Mann (2002)… Miguel A. Nunez Jr., Vivica A. Fox, Tommy Davidson, Kevin Pollak, Ginuwine, Kim Wayans, Kimberly Jones, Annie Corley, Omar J. Dorsey. Jamal Jeffries is kicked out of the NBA and then dresses up like a woman to try out for the woman's basketball league. He then falls for one of his teammates.

Like Mike (2002)… Lil' Bow Wow, Morris Chestnut, Jonathan Lipnicki, Jesse Plemons, Anne Meara, Da Brat. Youngster Calvin buys a magical pair of sneakers that were once worn by Michael Jordan. The shoes transform the kid into a professional player with a fictional NBA team called the Knights. Karl Malone has a cameo.

Full Court Miracle (2003)… Richard T. Jones, Alex D. Linz.  Disney TV-movie based on the true story of Lamont Carr.  A Jewish school is in desperate need of a basketball coach and the players convince Carr, a former CBA player, to coach them while he waits for a tryout with the 76ers.  Jerome Williams appears as himself.

Edge of America (2004)… Wes Studi, Eddie Spears, Delanna Studi, Tim Daly and Irene Bedard. Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre’s made-for-TV (Showtime) sports drama, shot entirely in Salt Lake City, and drawing heavily on a cast made up of talented locals, is based on a true story.  James McDaniel plays an African-American from Texas who moves to a reservation in Utah to take a job as an English teacher.  He has a difficult time fitting in with the tightly knit Native American community.  It gets even tougher when he's asked to coach the girls’ high school basketball team. He has to struggle with getting the mocked and poorly performing team back in shape to play the nearby all-white high school. Well done.

Skywalker: The David Thompson Story (2004)…  Documentary on the life of David Thompson – from a poor childhood to college and NBA star (Denver and Seattle) to a drug and injury collapse. He was nicknamed "Skywalker" because of his outstanding leaping ability leading to the birth of the alley-oop pass and acrobatic dunks. Michael Jordan, Julius Erving and Bill Russell appear.

Prison Ball (2004)… Cheeky Black, Jewels, Doo Wop, Headbussa, S-Man, Birdman, Shot, Marcus Clay, Diddy, Tyrodrick Brown, Vicious Black, Fatty. Narrated by Ice-T. Documentary about basketball in the American Prison System.

The Cookout (2004)… Ja Rule, Tim Meadows, Jenifer Lewis, Quran Pender, Jonathan Silverman. Todd Anderson signs a $30 million deal with the New Jersey Nets and decides to throw a big party to celebrate.

* Coach Carter (2005)… Samuel L. Jackson, Rob Brown, Robert Ri’chard, Rick Gonzalez, Ashanti. Ken Carter, a former high school basketball star, accepts the job of head coach at his old high school in a poor area of Richmond, CA and improves the team with a stricter attitude. Based on a true story of the coach who benched his undefeated team because of their poor academic record in 1999. Bob Costas appears as himself. Worth seeing.

Rebound (2005)… Martin Lawrence, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Oren Williams, Breckin Meyer, Horatio Sanz, Megan Mullally. Lawrence plays a once-successful college coach who is fired after a losing streak and a bad attitude that gets him into trouble. To prove himself, he starts at the bottom as the new coach of a junior high team that hasn't won a game in 12 years. The basketball scenes are not done too well and most of the comedy falls flat.

Through the Fire (2005)… Asher Beard, Nyan Boateng, Renan Ebeid, Dwight Howard, Jay-Z. ESPN documentary about basketball star Sebastian Telfair who has to decide whether to attend college or turn pro in order to get his family out of the projects.

* Glory Road (2006)… Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, Austin Nichols, John Voight. The dramatized true story of the Texas Western College Miners (now called the University of Texas at El Paso) men’s basketball team, which fielded history's first all African-American starting lineup of players to take a Division I national championship, and surprisingly winning the 1966 NCAA tournament title.  Hall of Famer Don Haskins was the zealous coach who changed the history of college basketball with his team's victory only two years after the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.  The team started five black players and defeated the all white University of Kentucky team (known as “Rupp’s Runts”), coached by the legendary Adolph Rupp. Great period soundtrack too. [Four of the Miners in the 1966 title game – David Lattin (16 points), Willie Worsley (8), Willie Cager (8) and Nevil Shed (3) – were drafted by the NBA. Lattin played five years and Worsley one while Cager and Shed were cut in training camp. The others in the game were Bobby Joe Hill (20), Orsten Artis (15), Harry Flournoy (injured early).]

30 Days (2006)… Ellen Burstyn, Taye Diggs, Hill Harper, Charlie Neal, Da Brat, Roscoe Orman, Abdul Yoba.  After a game between rival basketball teams becomes violent, an African-American player and a white player are sentenced to perform 30 days of community service in each other's neighborhoods. Directed by former Black Panther activist Jamal Joseph.

Church Ball (2006)… Fred Willard, Andrew Wilson, Clint Howard, Gary Coleman, Amy Stewart, Larry Bagby, with cameos by Hot Rod Hundley and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.  The local Mormon bishop declares that since this is to be the last season of formal church ball competition, he doesn’t intend to go down as the losingest congregation in church ball history!  The team of misfits must transform itself to meet the bishop’s demand.  Have you seen Hoosiers?

Crossover (2006)… Anthony Mackie, Wesley Jonathan, Wayne Brady, Kristen Wilson, Eva Pigford, Little JJ, Allen Payne. Two basketball players, one heading to college, the other just hoping to get this GED, play for respect in the land of urban street ball.  Think of “Hooisers” and “Above the Rim” in one movie.

The Heart of the Game (2006)… Chris Bridges (Ludacris) (Narrator), Devon Crosby Helms, Maude Lepley, Bill Resler, Darnellia Russell, Joyce Walker.  This full-length documentary follows the girls' basketball team at Seattle's Roosevelt High School, which, against the odds, formed a mini-dynasty for several years.  Director Ward Serrill filmed for a year, hanging out at practices and games; capturing, in Coach Resler's words, how "it's not about winning and losing, but about how hard you tried, how you overcome obstacles, emotionally how you rely on other girls and how they rely on you."  Maybe not a "Hoop Dreams," but it's got emotion, especially in the plot line about the star player's struggle to play the game she loves.

Like Mike 2: Streetball (2006)… Jascha Washington, Kel Mitchell, Michael Beach, Brett Kell, Micah Williams, Moneca Delain, Lexi Lopez. This is a direct-to-DVD sequel to the 2002 Like Mike.  A pair of magical high tops, with the mysterious initials "MJ" written in them, give a young player the ability to dominate the streetball world.   He is quickly discovered and sets out with a touring streetball team.  As fame and fortune grow, he gets conceited and alienated from his family and friends.   Jascha Washington, taking over from rapper Bow Wow, is likable and the new story is actually more believable than the original.  The film features cameo appearances by former NBA pro Clyde Drexler and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.

The Real: Rucker Park Legends (2006)… Documentary about famous Rucker Park from its crude neighborhood start through its heyday in the '60s and '70s and then to its more commercial times. Wilt Chamberlin, Julius Erving, Kareem Abdul-Jabaar and streetball legends like Earl "The Goat" Manigault, Herman 'Helicopter' Knowlings and Joe "The Destroyer" Hammond all played here among many others.

John Tucker Must Die (2006)… Sophia Bush, Brittany Snow, Jesse Metcalfe, Ashanti Douglas, Jenny McCarthy, Arielle Kebbe.  Three jilted high school lovers plot to break the heart of the school’s basketball star after they find out he has been triple-timing them.

Home of the Giants (2007)… Haley Joel Osment, Ryan Merriman, Danielle Panabaker, Kenneth Mitchell, Brent Briscoe.

Semi-Pro (2008)… Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson, Andr้ Benjamin, Maura Tierney, Andrew Daley, Will Arnett, Andy Richter. Comedy about the owner-coach-player (Jackie Moon) of the ABA’s Flint Michigan Tropics and how they became a member on the NBA. Interesting but mostly for Farrell fans. All of the team names and uniforms are the same as the real ABA except for the featured team.

4Chosen (2008)…Billy Zane, Laurence Fishburne.

Gunnin For That #1 Spot (2008)… Documentary that follows the top 24 high school players competing at Rucker Park in New York.

More Than A Game (2009)… Documentary about LeBron James, four of his grade school teammates and coach Dru Joyce of St. Vincent-St. Mary High School in Akron, Ohio. The amazing story of five friends, more like brothers, and the coach whose memorable run to the 2003 high school basketball national championship made history. Dru Joyce III, known as “Little Dru,” gathered together a bunch of 5th grade kids – Sian Cotton, Willie McGee and LeBron James (Romeo Travis would join the “family” in high school) and displayed courage, failure, veracity and brotherly love that began in a Salvation Army gym with a linoleum floor. Filmmaker Kristopher Belman does a masterful job using interviews, home video footage, news coverage and photos. Talking about the film, Coach Dru said, “The whole experience is very humbling. What we hope people take from this is that their dreams can come true. For us, it happened through basketball. I truly believe that God gives each of us a dream. Whatever it is for you, pursue it.” – Sr. Hosea Rupprecht, FSP

Streetballers (2009)… Jimmy McKinney, Matt Krentz, Adrieanne Perez, Eric Fletcher, Craig Thomas, Patrick Rooney, Justin Tatum. Imdb.com: Constantly searching for sanity in the midst of alcoholism, racism, and drugs, two junior college basketball players find release and therapy while competing at one of the most competitive street courts in the U.S.

Our Lady of Victory (2010)… Carla Gugino, David Boreanaz, Ellen Burstyn, Marley Shelton. From imdb.com: In the early 70s, Cathy Rush becomes the head basketball coach at a tiny, all-girls Catholic college. Though her team has no gym and no uniforms -- and the school itself is in danger of being sold -- Coach Rush looks to steer her girls to their first national championship.

Just Wright (2010)… Queen Latifa, Common, Paula Patton, James Pickens Jr., Phylisha Rashard, Pam Grier. Imdb.com: A physical therapist falls for the basketball player she is helping recover from a career-threatening injury. Many current NBA stars have cameos.

Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV (2011)… HBO documentary of Jerry Tarkanian's highly successful UNLV program of nineteen years. He won a National Championship (1990) and made the Final Four four times but also battled the NCAA on several violation charges. Greg Anthony, Jimmy Kimmel, Armen Gilliam, Jim Graziano, Grant Hill, Bobby Hurley, Christian Laettner, Robert Smith, Reggie Theus and Mike Krzyzewski appear, among others. Liev Schreiber narrates.

Elevate (2011)… From imdb.com: From a basketball academy in Senegal, to the high-pressure world of American prep schools, the film documents the extraordinary personal journeys of four particularly tall West African Muslim teenage boys with NBA dreams.

Thunderstruck (2012)… Kevin Durant, Taylor Gray, Brandon T. Jackson, Doc Shaw, Jim Belushi. A high school non-athlete magically switches abilities with Kevin Durant and becomes the star of his basketball team. Of course, the opposite affects Durant with the playoffs approaching. Great for the whole family.

Doin’ It in the Park: Pick-Up Basketball, NYC (2012)… Kenny Anderson, Julius Irving, Niki Avery, Pee Wee Kirkland, Jack Ryan, Kenny Smith, James Williams. A history of New York's outdoor summer basketball play.

Long Shot: The Kevin Laue Story (2013)… Documentary based on the story of Kevin Laue, the first one-armed scholarship basketball player in the history of college basketball. He began playing Division I basketball for Manhattan College in 2009.

Sweetwater (2014)… James Caan, Wood Harris, Bert Belasco, Cylk Cozart. The life of Nat ‘Sweetwater’ Clifton, the first black player signed by the NBA in 1950.

When the Game Stands Tall (2014)… Jim Caviezel, Alexander Ludwig, Michael Chiklis, Laura Dern.  The story of legendary football coach Bob Ladouceur (Caviezel), who coached the De La Salle High School Spartans to an all-time record 151-game winning streak. http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/sports/preps/football/2004-09-05-delasalle-loss_x.htm