Last updated on November 15th, 2015 at 12:07 pm

Top 5 Basketball Films

Sports movies tick our boxes here at Average Joes, and none more so that a well-made basketball film. Whether it’s the tension an end to end game creates or something else, some of the greatest sports films ever made have involved hoops.

The NBA is well into the playoffs so we thought we’d whet your appetite before the Conference Finals with our favourite basketball films of all time.


White Men Can’t Jump

White Men Can’t Jump stars Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes as an unlikely pair who team up on the streets of LA to swindle unsuspecting victims. But the hustling they do is on the basketball court.

It’s the funniest film in our list by far and is name after the running joke throughout the film that Billy Hoyle (Harrelson) can’t play basketball because of the colour of his skin. Little do Hoyle and Sidney Deane’s (Snipes) opponents know, Hoyle was a former college basketball player. The duo win a boat load of money.

This comedy is centres around friendship more than anything else and tackles a little some race issues that still plague the US. It’s very funny and it should be said that accompanied some of Harrelson and Snipes’ hoop skills are pretty decent!


Coach Carter

Coach Carter is a classic underdog movie that drives all good sports films. Samuel L. Jackson plays a coach who isn’t in the business just to win some games of, he’s in the business of coaching the school of life – another must for any great sport film.

He coaches a team from the city of Richmond who learn the individual importance of academics, discipline and empathy to become successful as a team. Yes, you’ve probably seen it all before but Coach Carter does it better than most, and we love a high school success story.


Space Jam

We’re not bothered what anyone else has to say, Space Jam is a cinematic classic. It combines one of the greatest basketball player in history with the bonkers world of the Looney Tunes. If you don’t like it, maybe it’s time you started to question what you want from a film.

Any motion capturing mixed with cartoons gets the thumbs up from us, and Space Jam has never been beaten in that department. Multiple NBA players feature with our starring man Michael Jordan alongside Muggsy Bogues, Shawn Bradley, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson among others.

Some would say it also has one of the greatest film soundtrack songs of all time too… Maybe. Space Jam is a slam dunk.



Hoosiers tells the loosely based true story of a small-town Indiana high school basketball team that wins the state championship. Gene Hackman is our leading male as Norman Dale, a new coach with a chequered past. The film also features the late, great Dennis Hopper, whose role as the basketball-loving town drunk earned him an Oscar nomination.

This David v Goliath tale is much like Coach Carter in that the story portrays an underdog basketball team that utilises unity, hard work and the support of a small rural town to propel themselves to victory.

It’s uplifting, inspirational and a must for any sports film fan. It’s certainly better than the band of the same name – that much we can promise you.


He Got Game

The most iconic of them all, however, is undoubtedly He Got Game. It’s written and directed by Spike Lee, so it’s far from a family romp, but what it lacks in playfulness, it makes up for in emotional punch.

It stars Denzel Washington as Jake Shuttlesworth, a prison inmate convicted for killing his wife. His son, played by NBA star Ray Allen, is the top-ranked basketball prospect in the country. Denzel is given parole for one week by the state’s governor in order to persuade his son to play for the governor’s school, in exchange for a reduced prison sentence.

As Ray Allen was a top player at the time, some of the basketball on show is stunning. But the real surprise is his acting performance, which caught many off guard. Denzel is obviously sensational too in what is one of Spike Lee’s most iconic films.

So there we have it – our 5 favourite basketball films of all time. Agree? Disagree? Let us know in the comments below! But for now – that’s all, folks!



Tickled your fancy?


Latest Posts