Sports movies are always extremely popular and keep a loyal audience. They can capture the excitement, hope, and tension of an important game. While it is certainly a genre in its own right, these films often bleed over into things like comedy, drama, and even thriller. Since basketball is one of the most popular sports in the USA, Hollywood has produced some incredible movies based on the sport over the last few decades. With so many of them available across a plethora of different streaming services, it can sometimes be difficult to find the best ones. Here we will break down our picks for the best basketball movies and where to stream them.
10. Space Jam – 1996
Many of us watched Space Jam as children, but it still holds up as a family-friendly comedy in adulthood. When the evil owner of an alien theme park decides that he needs a new attraction, he sends his gang called the Nerdlucks to Earth to kidnap Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes characters. To try to save himself and his friends, Bugs Bunny challenged the aliens to a game of basketball to decide their fate. This prompts the aliens to steal the powers of some professional NBA players like Larry Bird and Charles Barkley while Bugs Bunny recruits Michael Jordan for his team in response.
IMDb Rating: 6.5
9. The Way Back – 2020
Ben Affleck is known to be a massive sports fan outside of his acting career, so he likely relished the opportunity to star in this more recent basketball movie. He portrays a former high school basketball superstar who mysteriously walked away from the game. As an adult, he is working in a dead end job and grappling with alcoholism. Despite this, he finds a shot at redemption when he gets the opportunity to lead his former college team, which has fallen on hard times since his playing days.
You can stream The Way Back via HBO Max or Prime Video.
IMDb Rating: 6.7
8. White Men Can’t Jump – 1992
In this classic sports comedy movie, Woody Harrelson plays a hustler who makes money on the basketball court. No one that sees him thinks he’ll be as good as he is. One day, he hustles a man named Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes) who quickly sees an opportunity to partner up and make lots of money in the game. All the while, Billy has to evade mobsters whom he owes money and contend with his wife.
You can stream White Men Can’t Jump via Hulu.
IMDb Rating: 6.8
7. He Got Game – 1998
He Got Game follows a man named Jake Shuttleworth (Denzel Washington) who has spent six years in prison for accidentally killing his wife in a domestic dispute. This left his son without parents for these years. One day, the prison warden says that he will grant Jake a week of parole and a shortened sentence if he can get his son to attend the governor’s alma mater.
You can stream He Got Game via Tubi.
IMDb Rating: 6.9
6. Love and Basketball – 2000
Love & Basketball tells the story of two next-door neighbors who fall in love while bonding over their love of basketball. They both dream to become professional basketball players and the plot follows them from childhood to adulthood. Love & Basketball deals with themes of love, friendship, family, ambition, and the challenges faced by young black men and women.
You can stream Love and Basketball via HBO
IMDb Rating: 7.2
5. Glory Road – 2006
When Don Haskins is appointed as the coach of the 1966 Texas Miners, he aims to build a team based on talent and take race completely out of the equation. Despite the success of the team, conservative locals become angered by the coach’s approach and refuse to become anti-racist. With even more success comes even more racial tension. Societal problems come to head in this moving and important basketball movie.
You can stream Glory Road via Disney+.
IMDb Rating: 7.2
4. Hustle – 2022
Adam Sandler is another prolific sports fan and his golf movie Happy Gilmore is one of the most classic sports comedies ever. However, in Hustle, a basketball scout is fired from his team and goes out on his own to find a brilliant player abroad. The pair struggle to adapt to a new country and feel the pressures of professional basketball. Even so, they work hard to get signed by a team and continue their dreams.
You can stream Hustle via Netflix.
IMDb Rating: 7.3
3. Coach Carter – 2005
When Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school to lead the basketball team, he employs a tough regime to whip the players into shape. The team begins to succeed, but at the expense of their grades. Because of this, Coach Carter locks the team out of the gym and sticks to his guns until the players excel in the classroom as much as they do on the court.
IMDb Rating: 7.3
2. The Redeem Team – 2022
The Redeem Team is a documentary that tells the story of the 2008 Men’s USA Olympic Basketball Team. The word “redeem” is important in this story as the team was formed to redeem the United States after a third place finish at the 2004 Athens Olympics. The Redeem Team included LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony, among other prime NBA players. This group won the gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympics, which was a huge moment in American basketball history.
You can stream The Redeem Team via Netflix
IMDb Rating: 7.4
1. Hoosiers – 1986
In first place for the best basketball movies, we have Hoosiers. A small town obsessed with high school basketball gives a failed college coach (Gene Hackman) a shot at redemption when he is hired to lead the team. The star player quits to focus on his studies, which this throws a wrench in the coach’s plan. Alongside an alcoholic assistant coach, he must prove the team wrong and develop a winning team against all odds.
You can stream Hoosiers via HBO Max or Hulu.
IMDb Rating: 7.5
As basketball captures the hearts of many Americans, these movies will be sure to stick with you and remind you what it is like to have a dream. Playing sports can really impact someone’s personality and this is something that all of the movies on our best basketball movies list have in common. They show real-life struggles and how basketball brings people together in a team and community environment.