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From Hoosiers to He Got Game, check out our favorite flicks from the hardwood

Shaun Harrison
1 of 13 Orion Pictures


This heartwarming movie about a small-town high school team that goes on to win the Indiana state championships is easily one of the top sports flicks of all time. Loosely based on a true story, 1986's Hoosiers is often slow and sappy, but Gene Hackman's performance as the disciplinarian head coach is undeniable. We'd love to be on the receiving end of one of his inspirational pep talks.
2 of 13 Touchtone/The Kobal Collection

He Got Game

An athlete who can act? Yup! Boston Celtic (then a Milwaukee Buck) Ray Allen goes toe to toe with Denzel Washington in this 1998 drama, playing Jesus Shuttlesworth, the nation's top high school basketball prospect whose dreams are overshadowed by his incarcerated father (Washington). It's a basketball flick directed by basketball superfan Spike Lee.
3 of 13 New Line Cinema

Above the Rim

The drama — about a star high school player, Kyle Watson (Duane Martin), a player who must choose between good (getting recruited by Georgetown) and evil (following a local kingpin played by Tupac Shakur) — wasn't a commercial or critical hit back in 1994. But its real cultural impact rests on its classic hip-hop soundtrack, which featured Warren G's hit "Regulate."
4 of 13 Interscope/The Kobal Collection

The Air Up There

Desperate to get a promotion, assistant coach Jimmy Dolan (Kevin Bacon) travels to Africa to recruit basketball prodigy Saleh (Charles Gitonga Maina). But first, Jimmy must hit the court and play for the tribal team to convince Saleh to uproot his life. The 1994 comedy — one of the first movies to highlight the globalization of basketball — of course gave us the patented Jimmy Dolan Shake and Bake.
5 of 13 20th Century Fox/The Kobal Collection

White Men Can't Jump

Forget the money, the cameras and the celebrity of the NBA. This 1992 comedy from Ron Shelton (Bull Durham) focuses on two basketball hustlers (Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes) who make a living playing pickup games on inner-city courts in California. The odd couple is nearly upstaged by Rosie Perez's unforgettable turn as Harrelson's girlfriend, whose lifelong dream is to be on Jeopardy! But the film, no matter how hilarious, also offers a pretty serious look at friendship.
6 of 13 Paramount/The Kobal Collection

Blue Chips

Nick Nolte stars in this 1994 drama about the dark side of college basketball. When coach Pete Bell (Nolte) succumbs to the pressure of winning, he begins to illegally pay for “blue-chip” players. The movie gets it right by heavily relying on real actors and coaches, including Bobby Knight, Rick Pitino, Larry Bird, Jerry Tarkanian, Allan Houston and Shaquille O'Neal.
7 of 13 Columbia Pictures

Finding Forrester

This coming-of-age story revolves around a black teen (Rob Brown) whose basketball skills earn him a scholarship at a prestigious private school, where he finds a mentor in a reclusive author (Sean Connery). The 2000 film was Brown's first acting role and boasts four Oscar winners (Connery, Anna Paquin, F. Murray Abraham and Matt Damon). But perhaps the drama's most enduring legacy comes in the form of the meme You're the Man Now, Dog, based on a line Connery utters.
8 of 13 Fine Line Features

Hoop Dreams

After this seminal 1994 documentary about two high school kids dreaming of NBA glory was snubbed for the Best Documentary Oscar, the academy changed its voting process. Hoop Dreams may not have won an Oscar (it lost in the Best Film Editing category), but it won a slew of critics awards, including prizes from the National Board of Review, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association and the National Society of Film Critics.
9 of 13 Warner Bros./The Kobal Collection

Space Jam

Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny team up to battle aliens. Need we say more? If that's not worth the price of rental, then the sight of the talent-zapped Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson and Shawn Bradley fumbling around the court is. Just try to resist singing along to "I Believe I Can Fly" when you watch this 1996 film.
10 of 13 New Line Cinema

Love and Basketball

The 2000 film takes place over 15 years and splits the film appropriately into four quarters. Starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan, it tells the tale of two next-door neighbors who grow up loving basketball and, eventually, each other.
11 of 13 New Line Cinema

The Basketball Diaries

An adaptation of Jim Carroll's memoir of the same name, Leonardo DiCaprio stars as Jim, a high school basketball star who spirals into a world of drugs and crime. In one of his first film roles, Mark Wahlberg co-stars as Jim's best friend, Mickey, who turns to drugs with him. The two would reunite 11 years later in 2006's The Departed.
12 of 13 TNT/courtesy Everett Collection

Passing Glory

Based on the true story of the first integrated basketball game in New Orleans history, this 1999 drama stars Andre Braugher as an angry black priest who organizes a game between his unbeaten all-black team from St. Augustine High School and an all-white team at Jesuit High. While not as well known as other basketball films, the game scenes are shot very well. And because of the civil rights backdrop, winning the game is never as important as winning the other team's respect.
13 of 13 Walt Disney Pictures/The Kobal Collection

Air Bud

OK, so it's a movie about a dog playing basketball. (No, not Teen Wolf, an actual dog). This 1997 film obviously is for the kiddies, and the heartwarming relationship between a stray golden retriever and his new owner hits all the warm and fuzzy notes. It also launched a series of dog-as-athlete films. That's right: Bud plays football, soccer, baseball and beach volleyball, too!