COURTSIDE WITH COACH EDMONDS: 13 basketball movies that excite us

“INDIANA BASKETBALL is something that other states look at and marvel. Hoosiers (as we are called) often get asked the question, “Why is basketball such a big deal in your state?” The usual reply is “It just is”! For many of us, playing basketball in the state of Indiana became an obsession from the first time we touched a ball.” 

This excerpt was taken from a story that I wrote in Season 1 of Courtside with Coach Edmonds and it got me thinking… We love basketball so much in this state that even basketball movies have a place in our homes!  The question that I’m asking you is: If any of you were pressed to pick your 5 ALL-TIME “avorite basketball MOVIES where would you start? I started searching the internet for basketball movies and found quite an impressive list to choose from. Now I know that many of you will not agree with my list and that’s okay. It’s MY list! Take a look at my selections (#5-#1 )and let’s agree to disagree. Please enjoy today’s Courtside!

5. Blue Chips (Nick Nolte)

The story describes Coach Pete Bell (played by Nick Nolte), an old-school teacher of the game that hates the illegal “booster activities” that go on behind-the-scenes. This film shows how outside influences can impact a college basketball program. Former Indiana Hoosier star Matt Nover along with NBA stars Penny Hardaway and Shaquille O’Neal acted in the film as two of Coach Bell’s players.

4. Glory Road  (Josh Lucas & John Voight)

This is a powerful film that documents the 1966 NCAA tournament championship Texas Western College team and the racial struggles that they endured on their journey to greatness. The championship win was great but Coach Haskins decision to start five black players in the championship game is what was moving.

3. Coach Carter (Samuel L. Jackson)

Now be honest, with a column entitled: Courtside with Coach Edmonds you can’t be surprised that this movie is on my list, right? Samuel L. Jackson portrays a coach that doesn’t just focus solely on basketball but sets out to relay life lessons and emphasizes academics, discipline and morality. Isn’t that what most coaches do? His team comes together and blocks out all of the difficulties that each team member faced in their home life, while trying to play high school hoops. Coach Carter will ALWAYS be in my top 5 list of favorite basketball movies and maybe even sports movies in general.

2. Hoop Dreams

This documentary chronicles lives of two inner city teenagers from the south side of Chicago. Both Arthur Agee and William Gates have the dream of making it professionally in basketball, no matter what. Each player dealt with big time obstacles along the way (poor grades, drug-addict parents, family deaths, serious injuries) in their journeys to becoming big time successes playing basketball.

CO. 1.He Got Game (Denzel Washington & Ray Allen) 

This film stars NBA star Ray Allen as Jesus Shuttlesworth a highly regarded high school basketball prospect and his father Jake (Washington), an incarcerated man who’s given only one week to convince his son to attend the alma mater of the state governor in exchange for a shortened prison sentence. Why this film? Because I’m a Denzel Washington fan and enjoy seeing him in sports movies – Remember the Titans is a tremendous movie!

CO. 1. Hoosiers (Gene Hackman & Dennis Hopper)

Now I’m going to be honest, this movie was NOT going to make my list until I took a visit last summer to the Knightstown and toured the historic Hoosier gym. That was enough for me. The nostalgia that fills that place is amazing! Gene Hackman plays Norman Dale, a fossiled basketball coach that is given one last chance to revive his troubled career. And Dennis Hopper plays the town drunk, who finds a second life on the bench as a sober, assistant coach. This tells the true story of the 1952 Indiana state high school basketball championship game and is worthy of its place on this list.

So that’s my list. I’m sure you’ve seen many if not all of my choices. Send me your lists and if I’ve missed some let me know!                   

HONORABLE MENTION: (You see something you like?)

Love & Basketball

White Men Can’t Jump

The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh

Above the Rim

Space Jam

Celtic Pride


Eddie Cornbread

Earl and Me

Air Bud

Finding Forrester

Like Mike

Sunset Park


The Air Up There

JuWanna Man

Heaven is a Playground

Fast Break

Keith Edmonds is a 32-year veteran of teaching and school administration from Fort Wayne. He coached boys high school basketball as an assistant at Snider High School, North Side High School and was the head boys basketball coach at Elmhurst High School for 12 years, advancing to the Class 3A State championship in 2003. Courtside with Coach Edmonds will appear every Monday at Outside the Huddle. These opinions represent those of the writer. No opinions expressed on Outside the Huddle represent those of any of our advertisers. 

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