RANKED! 7 Basketball Movies to Watch Before the NBA Finals
Photo: Warner Bros. Pictures
With the NBA playoffs well underway, the NBA Finals are just around the corner. There is much discussion over who has the ability to win it all, whether it will be the Philadelphia 76ers, the Milwaukee Bucks, or (most likely) the Golden State Warriors for the fourth time in five seasons.
Whatever the outcome, basketball fans the world over are waiting with bated breath to find out. In the meantime, we’ve compiled a list of seven classic basketball films you’ll want to check out—or watch again—to get yourself into that NBA playoffs mood.
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7. 'Semi-Pro' (2008)
The Will Ferrell vehicle Semi-Pro is a widely-enjoyed comedy. Ferrell plays a one-hit wonder in the 1970s named Jackie Moon who purchases his own pro basketball team, the Flint, Michigan Tropics, who are terrible. He must make drastic moves if they expect to survive the NBA and ABA merger. Moon is one of Ferrell's most memorable characters, third only to Ron Burgundy and Ricky Bobby.
6. 'Love and Basketball' (2000)
The Spike Lee-produced Love and Basketball tells the story of two friends whose relationship dates back to childhood. Both dream of entering the NBA, even though one is a woman. This nearly-unattainable dream binds them together but also tries to pull them apart, and they begin to fall for one another in the process. Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps shine in their respective roles.
5. 'Space Jam' (1996)
Remember Space Jam? You probably do. After all, LeBron James is bringing it back with an upcoming sequel. Even before this news broke, people still talk about Space Jam today, more than 20 years later. You are near as likely to see someone on the street in a TuneSquad jersey as you are a Kevin Durant or James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo jersey. It's always appropriate to revisit the '90s classic.
4. 'Like Mike' (2002)
Nothing screams "early 2000s" like a movie about magical basketball shoes starring Bow Wow and Jonathan Lipnicki. In Like Mike, as a result of these discarded sneakers, the former finds himself in the big league playing alongside killer stars of the era like Allen Iverson, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Vince Carter, Tracy "T-Mac" MacGrady, and too many more to list here.
3. 'White Men Can't Jump' (1992)
In White Men Can't Jump we see Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as two hustlers who make their way in the world in part by playing basketball. Though they start as rivals, they join forces in the hopes of raising their financial standing.
2. 'Blue Chips' (1994)
Blue Chips tells a grounded story about the reality of people in difficult financial situations. Nick Nolte plays a college basketball coach who must pay his players under the table to beat the competition and Shaquille O'Neal plays one of his players.
1. 'Hoop Dreams' (1994)
Hoop Dreams is widely regarded as one of, if not the most important, sports documentary in film history. William Gates and Arthur Agee are two African-American teens from poor areas in Chicago. The film follows their day-to-day lives attending a wealthy and mostly-white high school where they struggle to beat the odds and make it to the NBA. It is a deeply moving film.