5 best basketball movies of all time
#2 Space Jam (1996)
While many of the best basketball movies appeal mostly to NBA fans, Space Jam is a rare movie that has wide-ranging lasting appeal thanks to the universal draw of the Looney Tunes. At the point of Space Jam's release in 1996, Michael Jordan had already returned to the NBA, and the film's plot presents a fictionalized take on what happened during MJ's initial retirement.
In this timeline, Jordan teams up with the Looney Tunes squad to take on Swackhammer and his Monstars team, who have stolen the talents of Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues to hilarious effect.
Helping matters is an excellent soundtrack, while Bill Murray and Wayne Knight are great in supporting roles. Two decades on and Space Jam remains the highest-grossing basketball film of all time, and we will finally get a sequel starring LeBron James in 2021.
#1 He Got Game (1998)
He Got Game was released more than two decades ago, although Spike Lee's classic remains as relevant as ever. Lee's love for the game shines through throughout its 136 minutes run time, as we follow the story of Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington), who is offered a reduced prison sentence in return for getting his son to go to a specific college.
His son happens to be the top-ranked basketball prospect in the country, and much of the movie deals with Jake fixing his broken relationship with his son, while also dealing with the demons from his past.
Nevertheless, the movie really shines when it comes to its portrayal of how teenage phenom athletes are treated by society, and Ray Allen excels in his first-ever acting role as the emotionally torn Jesus Shuttlesworth. The ending continues to split critics, although He Got Game is a timeless classic that has yet to be topped by another basketball film.