Since the start of the motion pictures revolution, sports have been a frequent subject for the movies.
Transcending beyond the physique of sports, sports films have become a popular fit for everyone’s taste regardless of their enthusiasm towards its genre. The depiction of such movies has become a metaphor of life, where films capture the essence of sport as a physical transformation and also an emotional and life-learning journey.
As basketball is one of the most globally relevant sports to this day, it is no doubt that the well-loved sport would make its way to the big screens.
Spanning from the biography of individual victorious basketball athletes, motivational players who triumph over difficulties as a team, and even social issues encapsulated in the world of basketball such as race, gender, socio-economic class discrimination, one will be thrilled to know that there’s more to the game than what meets the eye.
Here are the five movies that represent the complexity and enthusiasm within the game of basketball.
Coach Carter (2005)
Based on the true story of Richmond High School basketball coach Ken Carter portrayed by Samuel L. Jackson, who made headlines in 1999 for suspending his undefeated high school basketball team due to poor academic results.
In 1999, Ken Carter takes over the head coaching job for the basketball team at his former high school Richmond, having played on the team himself and earning records. Carter quickly sees that the athletes are delinquents who are in need of discipline. Strictly supervising and turning their lives around, Carter teaches them to play a disciplined brand of basketball that transcends beyond literal victories and physique.
Starring Channing Tatum, this movie is a blessed sense of reality in the modern era, with struggles that millions of people across the world can relate to. Coach Carter demonstrates what it means to inspire not only athletic success in our generation but academic proficiency to achieve our dreams.
Motivational and inspiring, everyone will be touched by this movie and sent on a rollercoaster of emotions.
Available on NetFlix
More Than a Game (2008)
It’s more than a movie, it’s a documentary film that follows NBA superstar LeBron James and four of his teammates through the trials and tribulations of high school basketball in Akron, Ohio, while portraying James’s journey to fame.
Specifically, it focuses in on LeBron James, Dru Joyce III, Romeo Travis, Sian Cotton, Willie McGee – and their coach, Dru Joyce II, performing on an AAU team with the growing stardom of LeBron James. Taking them through their pre-teens to high school, this film follows their incredible journey as the unknown Ohio team rises to the top of youth athletics.
For the loyal King James fans, this is the perfect go-to movie for you. A compilation of the lowest and highest moments of James through his tumultuous journey to the NBA, one may feel inspired and touched to see the realities of the pursuit of passion and how he overcomes the struggles of it.
Glory Road (2006)
Based on a true story surrounding the events leading to the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Championship, Don Haskins, head coach of Texas Western College, coached a team with an all-black starting lineup, a first in NCAA history. When black players like Bobby Joe Hill (Derek Luke) and team captain Harry Flournoy begin to dominate the court with flashy moves, the racial tension increases, jeopardizing the future of the team.
Glory Road explores the severity of racism and discrimination among student athletics. A film even for non-sporty viewers, Glory Road is a well-crafted movie that features a hard-driving coach who inspires his underdog team to athletic and moral victories.
The Heart of the Game (2005)
Filmed over a period of six tumultuous seasons, director Ward Serrill profiles Bill Resler, a university professor who coaches a basketball team comprised of high-school girls. Darnellia Russell, one of the team’s few black players, also comes into focus as she struggles to stay on the school’s predominantly white and upper-class basketball team.
A documentary that features socio-economic and racial challenges in the game of basketball, it also captures the passion and energy of a girls’ basketball team, the eccentricity of their unorthodox coach, and the incredible true story of one player’s fight to play the game she loves.
Hurricane Season (2010)
This movie is based on the true story of John Ehret High School’s 2005–06 State championship team. After Hurricane Katrina, Al Collins, a John Ehret high school basketball coach in Jefferson Parish, across the river from New Orleans in Marrero, Louisiana, assembles a team of players who had previously attended five different schools before the disaster and leads them on the path to winning the state championship.
Hurricane Season is an exciting thrill ride just waiting to get on. It shows all the struggles that New Orleans citizens went through during the catastrophic Hurricane Katrina but still made the best of it through teamwork and trust.
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