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10 Best Basketball Movies to Stream

Fast breaks, buzzer-beaters, and unforgettable triumphs—we’re counting down the greatest basketball movies and how to stream them online.

The best basketball movies find ways to weave captivating narratives that thrill and inspire. Of course, some also throw in a fine dose of humor and extraterrestrial mayhem for good measure.

To celebrate cinema’s greatest hoop stories, we compiled a list of our favorite flicks centered around the sport. Our lineup spotlights films where basketball takes center court. So, you won’t find quirky moments like the one in The Cable Guy on this roster. Sports logo featuring animated athlete with raised hands.

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Leon Robinson and Duane Martin in Above the Rim

#10: Above the Rim (1994)

There was a flux in basketball movies during the 1990s, with many films exploring high school kids’ dreams of making it big. Above the Rim follows this familiar narrative, but it stands out for vividly portraying Harlem’s street basketball scene. It’s also notable for featuring Tupac Shakur as the baddie.

Where to stream Above the Rim

Josh Lucas in Glory Road

#9: Glory Road (2006)

Josh Lucas leads the way in Glory Road, a gripping sports drama that recounts the true story of the 1965–1966 Texas Western College basketball team. What makes the film an engaging and moving experience is how it blends heart with cultural history and on-court excitement. It makes for a solid double feature with producer Jerry Bruckheimer’s other Disney sports drama, Remember the Titans.

Where to stream Glory Road

James McDaniel and Wes Studi in Edge of America

#8: Edge of America (2004)

Even through the lens of sport, movies can navigate complex themes. Most films on this list are dramas, but each uniquely depicts different facets of life. Edge of America powerfully addresses cultural clashes as a Black teacher takes a job at an Indigenous school and eventually becomes its girls’ basketball coach. It’s a heartfelt movie about bridging divides and finding common ground.

Where to stream Edge of America

Ray Allen and Denzel Washington in He Got Game

#7: He Got Game (1998)

He Got Game is the third movie directed by Spike Lee to star Denzel Washington. It follows convicted murderer Jake Shuttlesworth (Washington), who gets a week of parole from the governor. He can shorten his prison sentence by persuading his basketball prodigy son Jesus (Ray Allen) to join the governor’s alma mater. But of course, things aren’t all sunshine and rainbows between the father and son.

Where to stream He Got Game

Samuel L. Jackson in Coach Carter

#6: Coach Carter (2005)

High school basketball coach Ken Carter made headlines in 1999 when he benched his entire undefeated team for their failing grades. That season is the basis for Coach Carter, which stars a commanding Samuel L. Jackson in the title role. The film is slightly formulaic—especially when stacked against other films on this list. But Carter is a compelling figure whose dedication to his players’ academic and personal development shines through Jackson’s performance.

Where to stream Coach Carter

Pro tip: Take your sports movie binge up a notch with our Best Baseball Movies and Best Football Movies guides.

Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny in Space Jam

#5: Space Jam (1996)

You might ask, “How does Space Jam rank so high?” Well, it’s hard to top basketball legend Michael Jordan joining forces with the Looney Tunes crew for an intergalactic basketball showdown. It’s funny and zany. Plus, at 88 minutes, it never overextends its stay. Just avoid the LeBron James sequel—you’re better off watching Flubber.

Where to stream Space Jam

Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan in Love & Basketball

#4: Love & Basketball (2000)

Like a basketball game, writer/director Gina Prince-Bythewood divides Love & Basketball into four quarters. Each chapter represents a different period within the lives of two aspiring players portrayed by Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps. The film’s structure is reminiscent of When Harry Met Sally. But unlike that film, this story is more concerned with the complexities of balancing love and ambition.

Where to stream Love & Basketball

Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes in White Men Can't Jump

#3: White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Like Above the Rim, director Ron Shelton’s White Men Can’t Jump showcases the world of streetball. Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes star as two L.A. hustlers who team up to win cash. It’s a witty exploration of stereotypes and unlikely friendships—featuring a scene-stealing performance by Rosie Perez. As odd as it may seem, White Men Can’t Jump was one of Stanley Kubrick’s favorite films.

Where to stream White Men Can’t Jump

Gene Hackman in Hoosiers

#2: Hoosiers (1986)

Hoosiers is the oldest basketball film in our top ten. Based on actual events, the movie centers around a determined high school coach and a resilient team aiming for an Indiana state championship. It’s so enduring because it captures the essence of small-town sports. Much of that comes down to the direction of David Anspaugh, who went on to make Rudy and The Game of Their Lives.

Where to stream Hoosiers

Arthur Agee in Hoop Dreams

#1: Hoop Dreams (1994)

Hoop Dreams is a powerful documentary about inner-city teens William Gates and Arthur Agee pursuing their dreams of basketball stardom, from Chicago’s streets to high school courts. Through its intimate portrayal, the film sheds light on the complexities of race, class, and the American dream. We won’t spoil how things pan out for Gates and Agee, but their story has a special place in film history. As legendary critic Roger Ebert wrote in his review, “[Hoop Dreams] is one of the great moviegoing experiences of my lifetime.”

Where to stream Hoop Dreams

More basketball movies to stream

  • Air
  • Air Bud
  • The Basketball Diaries
  • Blue Chips
  • Chang Can Dunk
  • Finding Forrester
  • The First Slam Dunk
  • The Heart of the Game
  • High Flying Bird
  • Hustle
  • Like Mike
  • Teen Wolf
  • Uncle Drew
  • The Way Back

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