29+ Best Basketball Movies of All Time, Ranked


| LAST UPDATE 06/15/2023

By Arianna Morgan

There's nothing like a heartfelt basketball film! From Air to Above the Rim, Love & Basketball, and much more, these basketball films earned the best scores on Rotten Tomatoes, and we understand why.

30. The Winning Season (2009)

Starring Emma Roberts, Sam Rockwell, and Rob Corddry, The Winning Season is a sports comedy film that really takes us back! The feel-good sports movie scored a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes.

The Winning Season Best Basketball MovieThe Winning Season Best Basketball Movie
 Gigi Prods/Kobal via Shutterstock

Playing a divorced dad Bill Greaves (Rockwell), who is estranged from his own daughter, gets a second chance when an old friend of his, Terry (Corddry), offers him a second shot. Terry offers him the opportunity to coach the high school varsity basketball team but he soon regrets his decision after meeting the team.

29. Shooting Stars (2023)

It was about time the world got a biographical sports film about LeBron James! Shooting Stars tells the story of the young superstar and his rise to fame, focusing on his high school sports days alongside his childhood friends, who together became the number one high school team in the country.

Shooting Stars LeBron JamesShooting Stars LeBron James
IMDB-Shooting Stars (2023) via SpringHill Comapny

Starring Mookie Cook as James, the SpringHill Company-produced film is based on the athlete's memoir of the same name. The film, which got a 56% on Rotten Tomatoes, follows James and his three best friends, the Fab Four, as they practice their dream of playing basketball together while facing some trials along the way.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

28. Above the Rim (1994)

Talk about an iconic cast! This sports drama film stars Duane Martin, Leon, Bernie Mac, Marlon Wayans, and the one and only Tupac Shakur. The sports drama film scored a 52% on Rotten Tomatoes and has one of the most bumpin' soundtracks of all time!

Above The Rim  Best Basketball Movie Above The Rim  Best Basketball Movie
 New Line/Kobal via Shutterstock

Taking place in NYC, the film follows a young high school basketball star and his relationship with both a former basketball star, who was once a promising young star like himself, but now works as a security guard at the high school, and his drug dealer.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

27. Glory Road (2006)

Based on a true story, Glory Road follows the series of events leading up to the 1966 NCAA University Divison Basketball Championships. Starring Josh Lucas, Derek Luke, and Jon Voight, the sports drama film explores the intricacies of discrimination and racism within the sports industry.

Glory Road  Best Basketball Movie Glory Road  Best Basketball Movie
Frank Connor/Disney/Bruckheimer/Kobal via Shutterstock

Lucas takes on the role of Don Haskins, head coach of the Texas Western College, who coaches an all-black starting lineup for the first time in NCAA history. The film received a number of awards, including the 2006 ESPY for Best Sports Movie. As for its Rotten Tomatoes score? 55%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

26. 17 Again (2009)

This may be a teen comedy movie, but it's definitely one of the most iconic of our time. Starring Zac Efron, 17 Again follows a 37-year-old man, played by Matthew Perry, who magically becomes his 17-year-old self again, and, well, loves it. Rotten Tomatoes, too, enjoys it, giving it a 56%.

17 Again Zac Efron17 Again Zac Efron
IMDB-17 Again (2009) via Warner Bros.

In the film, we see the 17-year-old star athlete find out he's going to be a father right before what could have been a life-changing basketball game for him. The young Mike decides to ditch his basketball dreams to become a father but gets a second chance years later when he is transformed back into his 17-year-old self.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

25. Like Mike (2002)

Lil' Bow Wow became a true legend for this one. Starring alongside some iconic NBA players, the young actor made a name for himself in Like Mike. Considered one of the most loved basketball movies of all time, Like Mike received a 57% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Like Mike Lil Bow WowLike Mike Lil Bow Wow
Sidney Baldwin/20th Century Fox/Kobal via Shutterstock

Produced by NBA Productions, the movie follows a young orphan who finds an old pair of sneakers that once belonged to Michael Jordan and gains incredibly impressive basketball skills thereafter. The John Schultz-directed movie was released three years after MJ left the Bulls and instantly became a fan favorite film.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

24. Champions (2023)

We'll say it now, and we'll say it again, we love Woody Harrelson! The award-winning actor recently starred in the heartfelt sports comedy film, Champions, which Rotten Tomatoes has rewarded a whopping 59%. The film received mixed reviews from critics but received love and praise from its audience.

 Best Basketball Movie Champions Best Basketball Movie Champions
IMDB-Champions (2023) via Universal Pictures

The film follows Woody Harrelson, a former assistant coach to a minor league team in Iowa, who gets fired and assigned to 90 days of community service with a basketball team for people with learning disabilities known as The Friends. Hesitant at first, he quickly realizes the significant value of taking on such a special role.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

23. Amateur (2018)

This Netflix-released movie has scored a 60% from critics, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Starring Michael Rainey Jr., Amateur follows the story of a young 14-year-old basketball prodigy whose dream is to go pro but wrestles to fit in at an elite prep school.

Amateur  Best Basketball Movie Amateur  Best Basketball Movie
IMDB-Amateur (2018) via Netflix

Based on a short film of the same name, audiences see the young teenager Terron Forte struggle to navigate his old school basketball tricks in the National Collegiate Atheltic Association prep school and his drive to get where he wants to be.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

22. Uncle Drew (2018)

We love a basketball movie that stars current and former NBA players! The movie follows Lil Rey Howrey as Dax, an underappreciated basketball coach, who drains his bank account to enter a team in the Rucker Classic street ball tournament in Harlem and loses.

Uncle Drew  Best Basketball Movie Uncle Drew  Best Basketball Movie
Colbert/Lionsgate/Kobal via Shutterstock

But after meeting the legend Uncle Drew, played by Kyrie Irving, he is motivated to get on the court once again. Together they go on a road trip to rally up Drew's old basketball squad to take home the W. Starring Shaq, Chris Webber, Nate Robinson, Reggie Miller, and more; this sports comedy film scored 61% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

21. High School Musical 3: Senior Year (2008)

Let's go, Wildcats, am I right? High School Musical 3: Senior Year is the third installment of the High School Musical films starring Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens, and it's definitely one of the most iconic Disney films to date. Let's just say Now or Never will forever live rent-free in our heads.

High School Musical High School Musical
Disney/Kobal via Shutterstock

Starring Efron as Troy Bolton, a high school basketball star, who is in his final year of high school before going off to college, he and his friends from East High put together their last spring musical, and well, we loved it! Rotten Tomatoes granted this one a 64%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

20. O (2001)

Think Shakespeare meets basketball for this one. Adapted from William Shakespeare's Othello, O is a romantic thriller film set in an American high school, which surely makes for a fascinating plot line! And Rotten Tomatoes agreed, rewarding O a 64% rating.

O Top Basketball Movies RankedO Top Basketball Movies Ranked
 Bob Basha/Miramax/Dimension/Kobal via Shutterstock

In true Othello fashion, the story follows a young man, Odin (Mekhi Phifer), who is convinced by his dishonest best friend, Hugo (Josh Hartnett), that his girlfriend, Desi (Julia Stiles), is cheating on him. However, Hugo is just acting on his own jealous instinct toward his friend's good situation.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

19. Coach Carter (2005)

Samuel L. Jackson stole the show with this one! This iconic teen sports movie is based on the true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter, played by Jackson, who returns to his alma mater decades later to coach and get the high school basketball players into shape. This heartfelt film got a 64% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Coach Carter Samuel L. JacksonCoach Carter Samuel L. Jackson
Tracy Bennett/Paramount/Kobal via Shutterstock

The team hit a winning streak, but after seeing their academics begin to suffer, Coach Carter benches the undefeated team, causing uproar from players and parents. However, he sticks with his decision, set on teaching these boys the most important life lesson of them all- work hard in the classroom, and you'll play harder on the court.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

18. Linsanity (2013)

Based on the incredible story of the Taiwanese-American basketball player Jeremy Lin, Linsanity explores everything from the athlete's childhood in California to his draft experience in the NBA and the incredible successes he had with the New York Knicks in 2012. Lin quickly became known as the cultural phenomenon of Linsanity.

Linsanity Jeremy Lin NBALinsanity Jeremy Lin NBA
YouTube via Rotten Tomatoes Trailers

The documentary film features the discrimination and backlash he faced upon entering the NBA and the way he overcame the negative comments through his faith to fuel his successes. Linsanity premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and received 65% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

17. The Year of the Yao (2004)

Coming in at 7 foot 5, Yao Ming is one of the most legendary members to have ever hit the NBA. And just two years after being drafted as the first pick in the NBA, Fine Line Features delivered The Year of the Yao, a documentary about the iconic player's first year as an NBA rookie.

The Year of the Yao The Year of the Yao
 Stephen Dunn via Getty Images

The doc follows Ming's journey as he signs with the Houston Rockets and becomes the first-ever player from China to play in the league. Struggling at first and feeling the pressure to succeed, we see Ming slowly becomes accustomed to the American culture, on and off the court. This is a must-see, with a Rotten Tomatoes score of 67%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

16. More Than a Game (2008)

There's something about LeBron Doc that just speaks to us. More than a Game follows LeBron James and his four extremely talented high school teammates, Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis, Sian Cotton, and Willie McGee, as they face the ups and downs of playing ball in Akron, Ohio.

More Than a Game LeBron JamesMore Than a Game LeBron James
IMDB-More Than a Game (2008) via Lionsgate

The documentary shines a light on LeBron's rise to fame and his love for his hometown. "I am the person who I am today because of the City of Akron," he said, adding, "This City has helped me get to where I am today." Rotten Tomatoes scored this LeBron doc with a 71%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

15. Finding Forrester (2000)

This Gus Van Sant-directed film explored the intricate relationship between a high school athlete with a love for writing, Jamal Wallace (Rob Brown), and his unexpected mentor, William Forrester (Sean Connery). This heartfelt movie may not be based on a true story, but Rotten Tomatoes sure did love it, giving it a 74%.

FInding Forrester Top Basketball Movies RankedFInding Forrester Top Basketball Movies Ranked
Arthur Grace/Columbia/Kobal via Shutterstock

After Forrester finds out the basketball star is a gifted scholar, he secretly helps develop his writing skills as they get to know each other more and more. Ultimately, the basketball star is put in an uncomfortable situation to protect his friend's identity, and in the end, they both realize how influential they were for one another.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

14. White Men Can't Jump (1992)

Starring Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes, White Men Can't Jump is one of the greatest sports comedies to come out of the '90s. It's so good that a re-make starring Sinqua Walls and Jack Harlow was recently released on Hulu. However, it was the original version that scored a 77% on Rotten Tomatoes.

White Men Can't JumpWhite Men Can't Jump
 Moviestore via Shutterstock

Billy Hoyle (Harrelson) is a former college basketball star who makes living hustling basketball players who think he can't play because he's white. However, when he comes across Sidney Deane (Snipes), the two decide to go into business together, hustling other players as a pair all over Los Angeles.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

13. He Got Game (1998)

Why yes, he does have game! The Spike Lee-directed sports drama film, starring Denzel Washington and Ray Allen, follows the complicated story of a father and son duo who fell out years prior. The film goes from present to flashback moments, explaining why their relationship is where it is today and how eventually, they move on.

He Got GameHe Got Game
David Lee/Touchstone/Kobal via Shutterstock

The film follows Jake Shuttlesworth, whose spent six years in prison for accidentally killing his wife. He is promised a reduced sentence after being temporarily released on one condition-that he can convince his superstar athlete son to play for the governor's alma mater. Now that's complicated. As for its Rotten Tomatoes score? 80%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

12. The Absent Minded Professor (1961)

Starring Fred MacMurray as the brilliant but nutty professor Ned Brainard, this science fiction comedy film scored a whopping 83% on Rotten Tomatoes! Although this may be more about science at some points than basketball, it's Professor Ned Brainard's invention that ultimately helps the college basketball team to victory.

The Absent Minded Professor The Absent Minded Professor
Disney/Kobal via Shutterstock

Professor Brainard develops a flying rubber, calling in flubber, a substance that inherits energy when it hits a hard surface. The mad scientist realizes that if he puts the fuller on the soles of the basketball players' shoes, they will immediately gain incredible jumping ability, helping them improve their overall skill.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

11. The Way Back (2020)

Starring Ben Affleck, The Way Back follows Jack Cunningham, an alcoholic who becomes the head coach of the high school basketball team where he once was the most promising player. For reasons unknown at the beginning, we find out that Cunningham walked away from the game he loved and now has the opportunity to find his way back.

Top Basketball Movies Ranked The Way BackTop Basketball Movies Ranked The Way Back
 Warner Bros./Kobal via Shutterstock

The Way Back tackles difficult themes of loss and addiction but also sees how support from loved ones might be all you need at the end of the day. Although awarded 84% on Rotten Tomatoes, the film was released just two weeks before the pandemic began, affecting its box office numbers.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

10. Love & Basketball (2000)

Love and basketball and Los Angeles-now that's a combination! This sports drama is divided into four quarters, naturally, where one represents a different part of the main characters' lives. Love & Basketball stars Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps, two friends who grew up next door to each other in Los Angeles, and well, fall in love.

Love & BasketballLove & Basketball
Moviestore via Shutterstock

Love & Basketball tells the story of two friends who bond at a young age over their love for the game and their journey to each going pro. However, they face some roadblocks along the way before realizing they are also in love with each other! Rotten Tomatoes gives this romantic sports film an 85%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

9. The Heart of the Game (2005)

Filmed over seven years, this sports documentary follows the vibrant professor Bill Restler, who is responsible for coaching the high school varsity girl's basketball team. The Heart of the Game focuses mainly on Darnellia Russell, one of the team's few black players who have the potential to help her team win the state championship.

The Heart of the GameThe Heart of the Game
IMDB-The Heart of the Game (2005) via Miramax

She falls pregnant in her junior year and drops out of school. After returning to complete her fifth year, she's banned from playing ball by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association. With her team, her coach, and more on her side, she appeals the decision and helps her team win a championship. Rotten Tomatoes scored this one an 87%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

8. The Other Dream Team (2012)

The Other Dream Team not only celebrates the Lithuanian national basketball team but also explores the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, which allowed Lithuania to reestablish its independence. Critics on Rotten Tomatoes loved the documentary, rating it 88%.

The Other Dream TeamThe Other Dream Team
IMDB-The Other Dream Team (2012) via Sorrento Productions

As an ode to the Dream Team, the first American Olympic basketball team to star active NBA Players, The Other Dream Team follows the story of the 1992 Lithuania national basketball team and their experience winning the Bronze medal at the 1992 Summer Olympics. Players David Stern, Jim Lampley, Arvydas Sabonis, and more star in the film.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

7. High Flying Bird (2019)

Believe it or not, High Flying Bird was shot entirely on an iPhone 8, but that didn't deter it from receiving a 91% rating on Rotten Tomatoes! Directed by Steven Soderbergh, High Flying Bird follows a sports agent who has 72 hours to pull off the deal of a lifetime.

High Flying BirdHigh Flying Bird
IMDB-High Flying Bird (2019) via Netflix

Starring André Holland as Ray Burke, a sports agent, High Flying Bird tells his story after finding out his company is in the middle of a lockout. Burke has 72 hours to figure out a solid plan that convinces his client, Erick Scott, a rookie basketball player, of a controversial business plan.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

6. Hoosiers (1986)

Considered by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant," Hoosiers is one of the most iconic sports drama films of all time. The film follows failed college coach Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), who gets a second shot when he is hired to coach the boy's high school basketball team in Hickory, Indiana.

Top Basketball Movies Ranked HoosiersTop Basketball Movies Ranked Hoosiers
 Orion/Kobal via Shutterstock

After the star student, Jimmu Chitwood, is persuaded to quit the team and focus on his studies, Dale faces some challenges with coaching the small team. He hires Shooter (Dennis Hopper) as an assistant coach, causing a major uproar from the small-town community, but Dale has a plan. Rotten Tomatoes loved this one, giving it a 91%. Go Hoosiers!

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

5. Rise (2022)

We know them; we love them; they are the Antetokounmpo brothers. Based on the true story of Giannis, Thanasis, and Kostas Antetokounmpo, three Nigerian-Greek brothers who all go pro, Rise explains their unique story. Rotten Tomatoes granted the Disney+ biographical sports film a 91%!

Top Basketball Movies Ranked RiseTop Basketball Movies Ranked Rise
IMDB-Rise (2022) via Disney+

Rise follows the brother's journey to success, especially Giannis. At first, no major teams are willing to sign him, but audiences see how he works hard to make sure wherever he goes, his family is also going. In 2013, he was offered eligibility to try out for the 2013 NBA draft, where he signed with the Bucks securing his families citizenship.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

4. Air (2023)

Rotten Tomatoes scored this film a 92%, and we completely understand why! Based on true events surrounding the origin of Air Jordan, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon, and Jason Bateman take us back to the '80s when Nike wasn't at the top of their game. However, when they landed Michael Jordan as their biggest client, everything changed.

Top Basketball Movies Ranked AirTop Basketball Movies Ranked Air
IMDB-Air (2023) via Amazon Studios

In addition to Affleck, Damon, and Bateman, the cast includes Marlon Wayans, Viola David, Chris Tucker, and Chris Messina. Now, that is a stacked cast! After signing Jordan, it is revealed in the epilogue that Air Jordan earned 162 million dollars in sales in the first year, making Nike the most desired in the country.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

3. Hustle (2022)

Starring Adam Sandler, Hustle follows Stanley Sugerman, an NBA scout who constantly travels in search of potential players for the Philadelphia 76ers. Although feeling tired of scouting, his life changes when he travels to Spain and finds Bo Cruz (Juancho Hernangómez), a construction worker who makes extra money hustling at basketball.

Top Basketball Movies Ranked HustleTop Basketball Movies Ranked Hustle
IMDB-Hustle (2022) via Netflix

After learning more about Bo's story, Stanley takes matters into his own hands and brings the talented athlete back to America with him in hopes of getting him signed. Audiences immediately fell in love with the relationship developed between Stanley and Bo, and so did Rotten Tomatoes, rating it 93%.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

2. Chang Can Dunk (2023)

There's nothing like a good coming-of-age story, especially involving sports. Chang Can Dunk, starring Bloom Li, Ben Wang, Dexter Darden, and Zoe Renee, tells the story of a young high school student, Chang, whose love for the sport ends him up in a rival dunk contest with his enemy, Matt. Rotten Tomatoes gave this one a 95%!

Chang Can DunkChang Can Dunk
IMDB-Chang Can Dunk (2023) via Disney+

With little confidence that he can actually beat his rival, Chang comes across Deandre Cooke, a YouTuber who can dunk and approaches him to help train him to win. The story analyzes the themes of friendship and the intensities of social media successes while exploring Asian-American culture.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below

1. Hoop Dreams (1994)

Considered the best basketball movie of all time, landing a 98% rating from Rotten Tomatoes is the documentary film Hoop Dreams. The film follows the story of two black high school students, William Gates and Arthur Agee, in Chicago, who are determined to go pro one day, despite the variety of setbacks they face.

Hoop DreamsHoop Dreams
Fine Line/Kartemquin/Kobal via Shutterstock

Originally intended to be just 30 minutes, Hoop Dreams was turned into a documentary after capturing 250 hours of footage. According to director Steve James, the doc explores "the culture of basketball in the black community," as well as the injustices they face. Audiences are rooting for Gates and Agee, but neither of them makes it to the NBA.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below