18 Basketball Movies on Netflix


If you’re a movie aficionado, you must be familiar with this feeling – being in the mood for a particular movie genre, but being unable to make up your mind about what you want to watch. But sometimes, this urge is even more specific – you don’t just feel like watching a sports movie, you feel like watching a basketball movie. Speaking of which, let’s see which are the best basketball movies on Netflix. Whether you are interested in seeing a good basketball comedy, a drama, or a true story, we believe our list of the best basketball movies and documentaries on Netflix has you covered.

18. Air Bud (1997)

Netflix Release Date: N/A
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Runtime: 1 hour 38 minutes
IMDb Rating: 5.1
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 43%
Streaming on: Netflix Gibraltar; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or via DVD subscription on Netflix US.

It’s ironic that one of the most beloved family movies of all time would rank so low on this list, but let’s face it – it’s just not that good a movie. Despite its low ratings on both IMDB and Rotten Tomatoes, Air Bud spawned five sequels, some of them direct to video. While Air Bud may satisfy the cinematographic needs of both sports fans and dog lovers alike, with its sweet charm and nostalgic values, it just doesn’t hold up when you look closely at it – the pacing is bad, the characters aren’t that well developed, and the jokes miss just as often as they hit.

However, despite the fact that the critics didn’t really seem to enjoy our Most Valuable Pooch’s adventures, the movie was fairly successful when it came out. However, thanks to the memorable characters and their wacky misadventures, Air Bud also remained a classic, one of those movies you wouldn’t necessarily rewatch unless it’s a TV weekend rerun. Despite its flaws, Air Bud will always be one of the best basketball movies on Netflix.

17. Teen Wolf (1985)

Netflix Release Date: April 22nd, 2015
Director: Rod Daniel
Runtime: 1 hour 31 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 47%
Streaming on: Netflix UK, Brazil; unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or via DVD subscription on Netflix US.

Directed by Jeph Loeb and starring Michael J. Fox, everyone’s favorite old-timey werewolf comedy featured a young teenage boy struggling with normal high school problems – the inability to get the attention of the girl of his dreams, being part of a lackluster basketball team, and being an unwilling werewolf.

Considered a brilliant, classic comedy by some, and a poor excuse for a sports film by others, Teen Wolf has become a cult classic despite some of its more off-putting flaws. Love it or hate it, Teen Wolf is certainly one of the best basketball films on Netflix – not to be confused with the MTV show of the same name.

16. Blue Chips (1994)

Netflix Release Date: September 9, 2014
Director: William Friedkin
Runtime: 1 hour 48 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.1
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 37%
Streaming on: Netflix Ireland; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or DVD rental on Netflix US. 

Nick Nolte stars as a college basketball coach whose job is on the line if he can’t turn his team around and start winning. Desperate to attract the best players, the local Booster Club starts offering illegal incentives to athletes who can help the team win. This film marks the feature film debut of Shaquille O’Neal, who plays one of the basketball players receiving gifts from the team’s Boosters in one of the classic basketball movies on Netflix.

15. Space Jam (1996)

Netflix Release Date: N/A
DirectorJoe Pytka
Runtime: 1 hour 28 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.3
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 38%
Streaming on: Netflix France, Norway, Sweden; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or DVD rental on Netflix US. 

Any basketball movie list would be incomplete without this gem. Coming out in 1996, Space Jam starred Michael Jordan, Wayne Knight, and, of course, the Looney Tunes. Meant to cash in on the fame of both Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes, the movie didn’t do all that well when it came out. With an estimated budget of $80 million, it scored a total gross of $90 million.

While not that great from the perspective of both the storyline and the acting, the true value of Space Jam is its nostalgic factor which definitely makes it a must-watch basketball movie on Netflix. Despite the fact that nobody really asked for it, the comedic duo of Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny proved far more successful than anybody anticipated. If you’re feeling nostalgic and like you want to watch basketball movies, you can’t really go wrong with Space Jam.

14. BASEketball

Netflix Release Date: N/A
DirectorDavid Zucker
Runtime: 1 hour 43 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 42%
Streaming on: Netflix Zambia; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or DVD rental on Netflix US. 

Technically only partly a basketball movie, BASEketball has a funny premise, to say the least. Matt Stone and Trey Parker, of South Park and Orgazmo renown, star in this sports comedy with a twist. The twist is that the sport featured in the movie is a combination of two of the world’s favorite pastimes – baseball and basketball.

The movie features a strange mix of the two sports, some sort of basketball played with baseball rules. Coming out in 1998, one year after the first season of South Park initially aired, you can feel the irreverence that would define the style of the two actors/directors. While the movie may not be as appealing to some as to others, BASEketball is not just one of the best sports comedies, but one of the best basketball movies on Netflix.

13. At All Costs (2016)

Netflix Release Date: December 14, 2014
DirectorMike Nicoll
Runtime: 1 hour 40 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
Streaming on: Netflix US, UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Poland, Lithuania.

At All Costs is a basketball documentary focusing on how the Amateur Athletic Union helped the youth in America develop and become professional basketball players. It recounts the pressure on recruiters for finding the next big talent that’s going to break through the charts, the efforts of the blue-chip recruits still in or just out of high school as well as their families’, and the struggle to become of the best. It’s a great rundown of the AAU basketball programs which involve traveling the country, taking part in competitions with and against top-tier basketball players, and dealing with stress and exhaustion that comes with it.

12. White Men Can’t Jump (1992)

Netflix Release Date: July 13, 2016
DirectorRon Shelton
Runtime: 1 hour 55 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.7
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 76%
Streaming on: Netflix France; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or DVD rental on Netflix. 

Out in 1992, this comedy/drama/sports movie stars Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson and was directed and written by Ron Shelton. Grossing over $76 million in the United States alone, the movie was highly successful and received plenty of praise from critics and fans alike. It is definitely one of the most watched basketball movies on Netflix.

The two protagonists of White Men Can’t Jump are Billy and Sydney, two young basketball hustlers who think they are best in their hometown. They start working together to con people out of their cash, all while avoiding two gangster types who are after some money one of them owes them. Will the two talented young men succeed in their endeavors, or will they get in their own way?

11. One in a Billion (2016)

Netflix Release Date: December 6th, 2016
DirectorRoman Gackowski
Runtime: 1 hour 9 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.8
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
Streaming on: Netflix US, Canada, UK, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden.

This documentary tells the story of Satnam Singh Bhamara, an Indian-born basketball player, and documents his journey from his rural India home to the city that never sleeps in a try to change his life – and history, too, as there are no Indian-born basketball players in the NBA. The documentary goes on to show us the years of hard training and work Singh went through and culminates with the draft night our protagonist hopes will end in a success.

10. He Got Game (1998)

Netflix Release Date: October 2nd, 2015
DirectorSpike Lee
Runtime: 2 hours 16 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.9
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
Streaming on: Netflix France, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, Brazil; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming on Netflix US. However, it is available through a Netflix DVD subscription!

Directed by Spike Lee, and starring Denzel Washington, Ray Allen, and Milla Jovovich, this 1998 sports drama is the story of Jesus and Jake Shuttlesworth. Jesus, the most hunted high school basketball player in the nation, has to find a way to fulfill his dream of playing professional basketball, while also struggling with his father going to prison for the murder of Jesus’ mother.

A cult classic in the ranks of sports movie enthusiasts, He Got Game grossed $21 million domestic, less than the movie’s $25 million budget. Still, it is not just one of the best basketball movies on Netflix, but a very compelling story about ambition, family, and following your dreams.

9. Brotherly Love (2015)

Netflix Release Date: September 15, 2016
Director: Jamal Hill
Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes
IMDb Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
Streaming on: Netflix US, Australia, Canada, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Singapore, Spain, Sweden.

Sergio is a high school student, who is all the rage in Philadelphia because he is an amazing basketball player. As his local fame as an athlete grows, he must struggle to keep focused, so that his dreams of making it out of the dangerous streets of Philly don’t fade away. Although the plot might not seem like much, it shows an honest depiction of promising basketball players and is one of the most representative basketball movies on Netflix.

8. Iverson (2014)

Netflix Release Date: January 4th, 2016
DirectorZatella Beatty
Runtime: 1 hour 46 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
Streaming on: Netflix US, UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Spain, Sweden.

This sports biography/documentary movie focuses on the famous basketball player Allen Iverson who managed to build a stellar career in the NBA. It recounts deeply impoverished childhood in Hampton, Virginia and traces the main events of his life up until becoming an All-Star in the NBA for 11 times.

The movie also focuses on how Iverson built his successful career despite rejecting the conservative conventions of the National Basketball Association. With is ups and downs, the course of Iverson in the NBA, as well as the revolution he started, was also deeply influenced by the hip-hop culture. It’s definitely one of the best basketball documentaries out there.

7. 1001 to 1: The Cory Weissman Story (2014)

Netflix Release Date: December 1, 2014
Director: Michael Levine
Runtime: 1 hour 39 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.1
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
Streaming on: Netflix US

A college basketball player suffers a stroke and must pull himself back together and find a new path to follow into adulthood. The emotional trauma of sudden change and the devastation of expectations not met, make Cory’s road to recovery a long one. Beau Bridges stars as Cory’s coach in this emotional film that is based on a true story, which makes it one of the most remarkable basketball movies on Netflix.

6. Coach Carter (2005)

Netflix Release Date:
Director: Thomas Carter
Runtime: 2 hours 16 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.3
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 65%
Streaming on: Netflix Australia, Canada, Brazil, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming on Netflix US. However, it is available through a Netflix DVD subscription!

Starring Samuel L. Jackson, Rick Gonzales, and Robert Ri’chard, Coach Carter is a 2005 drama about the controversy surrounding Ken Carter, a coach who benched his entire team after they broke their academic contract with him. It’s not only one of the best basketball movies on Netflix but one of the best sports dramas of all time.

Samuel L. Jackson stars as the titular Coach Carter in a story about how discipline and rules can take a good basketball team to new heights. After the team starts winning under Carter’s tutelage, the players start slacking off and stop obeying his rules. As a result, the coach benches the whole team and eventually discovers that he’s made more of an impact on his players than he had anticipated.

5. Linsanity (2013)

Netflix Release Date: March 1, 2014
Director: Evan Jackson Leong
Runtime: 1 hour 29 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.4
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 63%
Streaming on: Netflix Canada; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or DVD rental on Netflix US. 

After graduating from Harvard, Jeremy Lin followed his dream and found a spot as backup point guard for the New York Knicks. Destined to have an unimpressive career, circumstances changed when his coach decided to take a chance and gave Lin a starting position. He exploded onto the scene breaking records and finding a place in history.

4. Hoosiers (1986)

Netflix Release Date: N/A
DirectorDavid Anspaugh
Runtime: 1 hour 54 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%
Streaming on: Netflix UK; Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming on Netflix US. However, it is available through a Netflix DVD subscription!

Considered to be one of the best sports movies of all times, this 1986 drama has it all – a compelling story, highly talented actors, and beautiful visuals. In fact, Hoosiers is so good that it was selected for preservation in United States National Film Registry in 2001 by the Library of Congress. It was selected for being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant”.

While everybody probably already knows the movies, this film starring Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper, and Barbara Hershey tells the semi-true story of a high school basketball team coached to become a real championship contender by a local drunk and by a coach with a checkered past. It is not just one of the best basketball movies on Netflix, but perhaps the best basketball movies of all time.

3. Nowitzki: The Perfect Shot (2014)

Netflix Release Date: December 29th, 2015
DirectorSebastian Dehnhardt
Runtime: 1 hour 45 minutes
IMDb Rating: 7.6
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: N/A
Streaming on: Netflix US, Canada.

The Perfect Shot tells the story of Dirk Nowitzki, a German basketball player, and his rise to fame in the local basketball charts with the help of his coach and mentor Holger Geschwindner, originally a physicist. It recounts the ambition and precision the young player had even in his early days as an amateur player and the unique relationship between him and his mentor during their ascent to the NBA championship.

2. The Hollywood Shorties (2016)

Netflix Release Date: December 30th, 2016
Director: 
Ryan Steven Green
Runtime:
1 hour 35 minutes
IMDb Rating:
7.8
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 
N/A
Streaming on: 
Netflix US, Canada.

The Hollywood Shorties is yet another basketball documentary, but the best one on this list so far according to IMDb ratings. It tells the story of how organized sports developed in the dwarf community in the USA from their beginnings in the ‘50s and through their glory times in the ‘80s. This lead to the start of a revolutionary movement that change the public perception of people with dwarfism. The documentary also recounts how this increased popularity due to the original team’s success was the cause of their tragic downfall.

1. Hoop Dreams (1994)

Netflix Release Date: June 18, 2015
Director: Steve James
Runtime: 2 hours 50 minutes
IMDb Rating: 8.3
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 98%
Streaming on: Netflix Canada, UK, Brazil, France, Germany, India, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden. Unfortunately, this movie is no longer available for streaming or DVD rental on Netflix US.

This documentary follows two basketball players from Chicago as they attempt to become college players and eventually go pro. From finding the school with the best basketball program to navigating the real world problems that can get in a dream’s way, this film asks if having the talent is enough to bring success. Followed by Hoop Dreams Reunion (1995) and Hoop Reality (2007), which explore what happened to the subjects of the original after the cameras were turned off.

Conclusion

While the very good basketball films on this list are mostly comedies, we do believe that we managed to cover everyone’s tastes. Some of the movies found their way to this list for the nostalgia factor, while others did so simply because they are objectively good basketball movies. We hope that you’ve enjoyed our list of the best basketball movies on Netflix, and we hope you’ll come back for more movie and TV show recommendations.

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