My Top Five Basketball Documentaries and Movies Ever Produced

Troy SparksColumnistJune 4, 2010

When there are seconds left on the clock in a close basketball game and your team is playing for the championship, you think about what the coach did in the movie Hoosiers.

He ran the picket fence play and the player made the winning basket.

Whenever I watch the end of that movie, it bring tears to my eyes. It's also a movie that basketball coaches can show to their players before a big game to motivate their troops.

Hoosiers is the best basketball movie I have ever seen.

The funniest basketball movie, at No. 2, is White Men Can't Jump.

Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson can't co-exist in a two-on-two tournament without arguing and complaining. Take out the comical parts and you have a dried-up two-on-two game.

I still call Ray Allen "Jesus Shuttlesworth" because he can still stroke it from downtown.

At No. 3, He Got Game is one of the best movies—not just about basketball—that Spike Lee has ever made.

Shaquille O'Neal and Penny Hardaway were the stars in the film Blue Chips. That's my fourth pick.

If I got anything out of that movie, it's that I know a little about how the college recruiting game operates. 

When I watched my No. 5 pick Love and Basketball, I didn't know you could put together two ballers who were in love. I guess it works for Candace Parker and her husband, Shelden Williams.

The best—and longest—basketball documentary I've seen is Hoop Dreams.

Will Gates and Arthur Agee were Chicago teenagers who dreamt of playing in the NBA. Both of them had their moments at St. Joseph High School, where they began their careers. 

If you have ever watched the documentary, you knew who stayed there and who didn't.

In the end, Agee accomplished something that Gates didn't—he led his Chicago Marshall team to state. Gates had a so-so career at Marquette while Agee went to juco, then transferred to a Division I school.

I wish I knew what both were doing now.

Booger Smith was one of the New York City playground legends whose game spoke for itself. It was basketball first and school second for Booger and the second best documentary I liked.

Sometimes, playground legends let their attitudes hinder them from taking direction from coaches on organized teams, for they are used to running their own show.

Sebastian Telfair's senior season in Brooklyn was chronicled by ESPN in the film Through the Fire, which stands at No. 3. The NBA dream came true for Telfair, but it's barely hanging by a string.

Kentucky Bluegrass Basketball, narrated by Ashley Judd, was my next to last pick.

It illustrates the emotions associated with high school basketball in Kentucky from the beginning of the season to the end. Kentucky still runs a single-class state basketball tournament, which I like.

The film Black Magic reveals the up-tempo game that black colleges played before the Southern white colleges snatched some of the black athletes.

The Southern schools were slow to integrate their teams. They knew that people would get tired of watching stiff, white ball players with no athleticism run up and down the court.

Would you rather see players who can jump and run, or players who can stand and shoot a set shot?

E-mail me at with your opinions.