"Basketball is my favorite sport. I like the way they dribble up and down the court!" If you're a basketball fan, there's a chance you've seen a few basketball movies on the movie and TV screen. 94% of people can't name all these basketball films. Can you?
Basketball was created by James Naismith in Springfield, Massachusetts, in 1891. From there, the sport would go on to be played all around the world, predominantly in the United States. Countless of films have been made around the sport. How many of them have you seen?
You might prefer the '90s classic of White Men Can't Jump or the kid-friendly Air Bud. Do you like a little romance mixed in with the sport? You were probably watching the 2000 film Love & Basketball. The following years would bring in Coach Carter and Glory Road. Can you recognize all these films from an image?
Do you remember the 1996 movie where Michael Jordan stars alongside Bugs Bunny? Could you recognize the 2002 film Like Mike, where a young orphan magically gets Michael Jordan skills when he puts on a pair of sneakers?
From drama to romance, these basketball films have all the genres covered. Can you recognize them all?
At the final buzzer, will you be left sinking the game-winning shot or will you be embarrassed from an air ball?
Let's find out!
Samuel L. Jackson plays the lead role of Ken Carter, a real-life high school basketball coach. Ken Carter’s insistence that his players perform well academically contributed to all team members at his school graduating, while he was coach.
This 1997 supernatural sports comedy starred Marlon Wayans and Kadeem Hardison. The show also starred actress Michael Michelle (Williams) as Wayans’ love interest.
Glory Road is a 2006 film tracing the events leading up to the Texas Western College team winning the NCAA University Division Basketball Championship in 1966. They were the very first team to do so with an all-black starting lineup.
Buddy, the golden retriever who stars as basketball phenomenon Air Bud, was actually good at other sports, as well. His owner also taught him to play baseball, football, hockey and soccer, but apparently, Buddy loved basketball the best.
Michael Jordan is often hailed as the greatest basketball player of all time. During his playing career, he retired from the game on three occasions, the first time being from 1993 to 1995 when he went to play minor league baseball. The movie Space Jam “reveals” other events of that time – including his meeting with Bugs Bunny!
Whoopi Goldberg and Frank Langella both star in this 1996 sports comedy. The two would go on to form a romantic relationship which lasted from 1996 to 2000.
This 2008 sports comedy starred Will Ferrell, Woody Harrelson and André Benjamin. The film also featured an impressive list of cameo appearances, including one by famed singer Patti LaBelle.
The 2009 sports comedy film, Winning Season, had its initial premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. A scene in the movie incorrectly refers to legendary women’s tennis star Billie Jean King as a golfer – the correction is addressed in an end credits scene.
Julius Erving, “Dr. J”, stars as Moses Guthrie in this 1979 fantasy comedy. Widely regarded as one of the all-time greatest basketball players, Dr. J was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Both Billy Crystal and Debra Winger star in this 1995 romantic comedy. The film is noted for the long list of NBA stars who make an appearance as themselves. They include Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Charles Barkley and Patrick Ewing.
The Basketball Diaries was released in 1995 with Leonardo DiCaprio playing the lead role of autobiographer Jim Carroll. The film later became controversial when one of its scenes was said to have influenced both the Heath High School shooting (1997) and the Columbine High School massacre (1999).
Professional basketball player LeBron James is featured in this 2008 documentary film along with four of his high school teammates. The documentary follows them from their preteen years, showing the developmental years of James as he makes his way to NBA stardom.
Above the Rim (1994) marks the directorial debut of Jeff Pollack, who also co-wrote the script. Pollack is also well-known as the co-creator, writer and producer of the hit sitcom The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.
The role of Matthew Lockhart, played by Bo Kimble, was initially earmarked for Michael Jordan. Years later, when filming was due to start, Jordan decided against taking up the role. He was sued by the filmmakers – they lost, and he countersued – he won.
Both Basketball Hall of Famer Larry Bird and veteran actor Louis Gossett Jr. are among the star-studded list of cameo appearances in this 1996 drama. The film stars Nick Nolte and Shaquille O'Neal, as well as NBA all-star Penny Hardaway.
Robby Benson and Annette O'Toole take the lead roles in this 1977 drama. Both Benson and his father are credited as writers for the script.
This romantic drama stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps in the lead roles. It was written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood and is her debut film in the role of director.
Like Mike 2: Streetball (2006) is considered a spiritual successor to the original Like Mike film (2002). While it builds on the same elements as the original film, the sequel has none of the original cast nor does it continue with the original storyline.
Rhea Perlman stars in this 1996 basketball film which was produced by her husband Danny DeVito. Performers on the film’s soundtrack include Aaliyah, Queen Latifah and Onyx (whose group member Fredro Starr also has a leading role in the film).
He Got Game (1998) is one of two films former professional basketball player Ray Allen has acted in, so far. It is also the third time Denzel Washington has acted in a film directed by Spike Lee. Their previous film together was Malcolm X (1992) and the pair would collaborate again in 2006 for Inside Man.
Hoop Dreams is a documentary filmed over a five-year period. The film chronicles the lives of basketball-playing teenagers William Gates and Arthur Agee as they aspire for stardom in the game.
Veteran actor Bruce Dern co-stars in this 2006 sports drama. The film is based on a novel titled Brief Garland by award-winning author Harold Keith.
The Air Up There (1994) stars Kevin Bacon and Charles Gitonga Maina, a 6'10" Kenyan-born actor. Interestingly, Maina later attended an American university on a basketball scholarship but was not allowed to use the move known as the Jimmy Dolan Shake and Bake (a move taught by Bacon’s character to his in the movie) in his matches.
This critically acclaimed box office hit was released in 1992 and starred Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as a pair of streetball hustlers. It was both written and directed by Ron Shelton who is also writer for several other sports films, including Blue Chips (1994) and The Great White Hype (1996).
Gene Hackman, Barbara Hershey and Dennis Hopper star in this 1986 sports film. Hopper was nominated for a Best Supporting Actor Oscar Award for his role – the award was won by Michael Caine for his work in Hannah and Her Sisters
Teen Wolf was a huge box office success upon its release in 1985. The film went on to spawn a sequel, Teen Wolf Too (1987); a cartoon series, which ran for 2 seasons (1986 – 1987); and an MTV series (6 seasons, from 2011 to 2017).
This 2002 Disney Channel Original Movie starred twin sisters Heather and Heidi Burge. The movie follows the young women’s real-life professional basketball careers. Both Heather and Heidi played in the WNBA, but not simultaneously as depicted in the movie.
Actor Laurence Fishburne has one of his first film roles in this 1979 movie. It, however, wasn’t the first basketball film he appeared in, as he had a major role in the later-to-be-acclaimed movie Cornbread, Earl and Me (1975).
Don Cheadle stars as the title character in this 1996 HBO television film. Earl “The Goat” Manigault is widely regarded as one of the best basketball players who has ever lived, although he was a street basketball player and never achieved the same level of fame as professionals in the NBA.
Andre Braugher and Rip Torn star in this 1999 sports drama based on real events which took place in the 1960s. The movie traces events leading up to New Orleans’ very first integrated basketball game played between St. Augustine High School (an all-black team) and Jesuit High (an all-white team).
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar served as writer, producer and narrator on this 2011 historical documentary. On the Shoulders of Giants looks back at the accomplishments and influence of the Harlem Rens (a.k.a. New York Renaissance) – an all-black professional basketball team of the 1920s and 1930s.
In Finding Forrester (2000), Sean Connery plays reclusive writer William Forrester while Rob Brown portrays teenage basketball player Jamal Wallace. In 2005, Brown starred in another basketball drama, Coach Carter, opposite Samuel L. Jackson. He also played Ernest Davis, the first African-American winner of the Heisman Trophy, in the 2008 film The Express.
This 2008 Chinese-language action comedy film starred Taiwanese actor, director and film producer Jay Chou. The film’s theme song was composed by Chou, who is also an accomplished pop singer.
The 2005 – 2006 boys’ basketball team of John Ehret High School is the subject of this 2010 sports drama. The team, which won the state championship after dislocation by Hurricane Katrina, was also the subject of a Sports Illustrated article and an ESPN SportsCenter feature.
Acclaimed actor Laurence Fishburne has one of his very first lead roles in this 1975 film. It was not his first acting role, however, as he was a child actor playing the role of young Joshua "Josh" Hall on the soap opera One Life to Live from 1973 – 1976.
Actor and dancer Gregory Hines is both producer and director of The Red Sneakers (2002). Hines also plays the role of Zeke, the original owner of the magical red shoes.
Michael Jace stars as Michael Jordan in this 1999 Fox Family Channel film. Fifteen years later, in 2014, Jace was arrested for killing his wife – for which he was sentenced to life in prison.
This well-received sports drama and coming-of-age film starred Haley Joel Osment and Danielle Panabaker. Osment is the brother of Emily Osment (Lilly Truscott in Disney Channel’s sitcom Hannah Montana. Their father Eugene Osment makes an appearance in the movie as a police officer.
Professional basketball player Kevin Durant stars as himself in this 2012 sports comedy. In the film, Durant’s basketball playing skills are transferred to a not-so-athletic teenager, Brian Newall, played by Taylor Gray.
Matthew Krentz is both director and star of this 2009 film. He acts opposite professional basketball player Jimmy McKinney.
This 1991 biographical sports film centers on the life of Basketball Hall of Famer Peter “Pistol Pete” Maravich. Pistol Pete’s father Petar “Press” Maravich had been a coach of both college and professional basketball.
Juwanna Mann (2002) is a romantic comedy starring Miguel A. Núñez, Jr. and Vivica A. Fox. Núñez portrays a basketball star whose only chance to continue playing the game is to impersonate a female player. Fox acts as his teammate and later love interest.
Rapper, actor and television host Bow Wow (real name Shad Moss) stars in this 2002 sports comedy. At the time, he was in his mid-teens and went by the name Lil' Bow Wow. Like Mike was his debut acting role.
The Luck of the Irish is a Disney Channel Original Movie released in 2001. Ryan Merriman, who plays the lead role in this film, also played one of the major characters in another basketball movie, Home of the Giants (2007).
The High School Musical trilogy began in 2006 with this first film. High School Musical 3: Senior Year became the first and only (to date) Disney Channel Original Movie to be given a theatrical release.
Creators of the popular adult animated sitcom South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, are the stars in BASEketball (1998). The movie is a sports comedy co-written and directed by David Zucker who has also worked on Airplane! (1980), The Naked Gun franchise and Scary Movie 3, 4 and 5.
Queen Latifah and Common (Lonnie Lynn, Jr.) star as love interests in this 2010 movie. The film received mixed reviews but was honored with several industry award nominations. It won Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture (Theatrical or Television) the NAACP Image Awards.
This 2009 movie is about real-life women’s basketball coach and Basketball Hall of Famer Cathy Rush. She was head coach of the Immaculata University’s women’s basketball team, the Mighty Macs from 1972 – 1977.
Eva Marcille Pigford co-stars in this 2006 basketball movie. Two years earlier, at the age of 19, she was the winner of America's Next Top Model (cycle 3).
This 1996 comedy stars veteran comedians Daniel Stern, Dan Aykroyd and Damon Wayans. Stern and Aykroyd play fanatical NBA fans who kidnap Wayans (portraying an NBA star). At the end of the film Stern and Aykroyd are shown as they begin their attempt to kidnap American Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders.