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With March Madness underway get pumped about the most inspirational basketball movies to grace the big screen! These flicks are high energy, inspiring and, most of all, moving. From small town Hoosiers, to mixed animation & live action Michael Jordan, to real rises from the streets to courtside glory – check out our top picks for the best films on hoops.

Hoosiers
(1986)

Failed college coach and known alcoholic, Norman Dale (Gene Hackman), finds redemption as he leads a small town high school basketball team to the championship game.

Because most Europeans didn’t know what a Hoosier was, the film was renamed “Best Shot” in European theaters.

He Got Game
(1998)

Jake Shuttlesworth (Denzel Washington) is serving time in prison when he is presented with a unique opportunity to shorten his sentence. He is given one week of parole to convince his top-ranked basketball playing son (Ray Allen) to play for the governor’s alma mater.

While actual NBA legend Ray Allen landed the lead role the director originally wanted to cast Kobe Bryant. Bryant opted to focus on improving his skills for upcoming games.

Love and Basketball
(2000)

Childhood friends, Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps), both aspire to be professional basketball players but their paths to stardom may pull their budding relationship apart.

Prior to filming actress Sanaa Lathan had no basketball experience and admitted she didn’t even know how to hold the ball.

Coach Carter
(2005)

Based on a true story, Ken Carter (Samuel L. Jackson) returns to his old high school in Richmond, California determined to shape the basketball team into not only winners on the court but winners in the classroom.

This is the feature film debut for Channing Tatum who also required extra basketball training on set as he had not played prior to filming.

Space Jam
(1996)

In this hybrid live action and animated movie, professional basketball legend Michael Jordan helps the Looney Tunes win a basketball game against the evil Monsters of Moron Mountain.

Space Jam remains the highest grossing basketball movie of all time raking in over $90 million.

Glory Road
(2006)

Based on a true story, newly hired basketball coach (Josh Lucas) of the 1966 Texas Miners decides to build a team based on talent rather than race. Despite the fact that the team starts to win, he meets backlash from the conservative locals over the diverse lineup.

Josh Lucas gained over 40 pounds to portray Coach Don Haskins on screen.

Blue Chips
(1994)

Pressured to improve his college basketball team’s record, Coach Pete Bell (Nick Nolte) resorts to illegal means to attract talented athletes to his team. These talented players are portrayed by actual NBA greats, Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway.

Blue Chips was Shaquille O’Neal’s first movie. He would later star as a genie in Kazaam.

Finding Forrester
(2000)

When reclusive novelist, William Forrester (Sean Connery), discovers the writing talents of Jamal (Rob Brown), a gifted high school basketball player, an unlikely friendship develops. As the two open each other’s eyes to a new world, Jamal is forced to choose the right path.

Rob Brown originally had no aspirations to be an actor. He actually auditioned for a role as an extra just to get enough money to pay off a cell phone bill. He ended up impressing the director so much that he landed the lead role in Finding Forrester.

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Reprinted from www.pcmag.com with permission. © 2017 Ziff Davis, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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