On the eve of another NBA season, our staff handpick a wide spectrum of basketball films that got it right.
In April, we ran a feature on the best baseball films of all time. If I had to try and articulate the main difference between movies that take place on the diamond and those set on the hardcourt, I’d break it down like this. Baseball often acts as a backdrop, a context for the relationships we hold dear – maybe an unforgettable summer spent with friends on the sandlot or a father-son bond measured out over the years in an endless string of tosses across a backyard.
Basketball, though, isn’t mere background music. The sound of chain nets rattling and dribbles reverberating are themselves the orchestral swell that demand our attention. The game itself stands as a life-changing act with stakes to match – a way up, a way out, a way to forget, the means to our dreams. Fault-lined blacktop courts are the settings for modern Shakespearian tragedies, the stages where men never soared so high or fell so hard. The hope being that if our shot is pure enough, our lives will somehow follow suit. Baseball may mark our lives, but it’s through basketball that the type of life we want becomes possible.
Those who call basketball “just a game” never saw these movies.
Or Space Jam.