Inspired by NBA Films for Fans created with OLG and the Toronto International Film Festival Special Event - which will premiere five films that were created by fans for fans in celebration of the NBA's landmark 75th season - our NBA.com Staff discussed their favourite basketball movies of all time.
Below, find previews for two of the five films set to debut at the TIFF.
NBA Films for Fans created with OLG: "Born Identities" | "Inheritance"
Kyle Irving (@KyleIrv_): I'm torn between two movies here, and it's tough to do this to "Coach Carter," which is one of my favourite movies in general, but I'm assuming that will pop up as someone else's favourite here. Instead, I'm going with "Like Mike."
When I was a kid, I saw this movie in theatres multiple times. I was at that age where I was really starting to dial into the NBA and grow a liking for the superstars in the league, so to see a number of the best players on the big screen was awesome to me.
The concept was perfect with old Michael Jordan sneakers giving a kid superpowers, to the point that he could play in the NBA. I loved the scene where Dirk Nowitzki asks for Calvin Cambridge's autograph for his niece, but when he asks what her name is, he says, "Dirk." That had me cracking up at seven years old and again at 26 years old. The scene in the car with the late DMX's "Party Up" bumping still sticks with me to this day, wanting to let out a few barks any time that song comes on.
And I'd be mistaking if I didn't mention the iconic "what's room service?," scene, too.
It's one of those movies that will always have a special spot in my heart no matter how old I get because of how much I enjoyed it when I was younger.
Benyam Kidane (@BenyamKidane): I got love for "Coach Carter," but I can't put it above "White Men Can't Jump."
Nostalgia puts it over the top for me as it's the first basketball movie I can remember watching and the combination of Woody Harrelson, Wesley Snipes and Rosie Perez is just perfect.
In the early '90s, for me, the three greatest basketball players were Michael Jordan, Billy Hoyle and Sidney Deane.
Two hoopers from different worlds colliding and hustling different courts in Los Angeles is the perfect premise that to this day lives on with a firm cultural imprint 30 years later. From the music, to the clothes and the endless trash talk, there's a hilarious one-liner from this movie for every basketball situation.
I still to this day will let out an "Ain't no thang but a chicken wing on a string from Burger King" while playing pick-up ball.
Let us not forget maybe one of the funniest scenes in a basketball movie ever, featuring former Milwaukee Bucks and UCLA legend Marques Johnson aka 'Raymond' after getting fleeced by Hoyle and Deane. That clip/gif will appear on the timeline at least once a week and still makes me laugh just as hard.
Gilbert McGregor (@GMcGregor21): I'm right there with Kyle in giving "Like Mike" the title of being my all-time favourite basketball movie.
For context, the movie came out the summer after I turned eight, and, like so many other kids growing up, I had my sights set on getting to the NBA as soon as possible. Seeing young Calvin Cambridge magically forgo all of his middle school and high school eligibility to get to the NBA at 13 years old gave me the blueprint to get to the league, I just needed magic sneakers.
I can confidently say that this was the first movie I went to the theatre to see more than once, and it got to the point where I knew lines. Like, a lot of lines.
I pride myself on having seen essentially every basketball movie ever made, so there were plenty of movies I considered, namely "He Got Game," "The Sixth Man" and "Semi-Pro" but the incorporation of the NBA and inclusion of stars from Allen Iverson to David Robinson to Vince Carter puts "Like Mike" over the top for me.
It's timeless for me, I could watch it until this day.
Yash Matange (@yashmatange2694): I have to go with the pick that Benyam and Kyle edged out: "Coach Carter."
The movie shows how Coach Carter, a role brought to life by Samuel Jackson, genuinely cares about the upliftment of the neighborhood of Richmond and how he intends to do so through the young kids at Richmond High.
Coach Carter sticks to his gut and locks up the basketball court when the athletes fail to live up to the grade-point average they agreed upon while signing the contract to be on the team. He stands to gain nothing by doing so but is doing it in the interests of the young kids because he wants them to grow up to be men by going to college and getting a degree instead of solely depending on their game for a living.
Despite his disagreements and repeated head-to-heads with "Mr. Cruz," he doesn't hesitate to bring him into his house when the young man comes to his doorstep with blood on his shirt just moments after he witnesses his cousin's murder.
What I love the most about sports is the brotherhood, respect, teamwork and other key life values that it cultivates between individuals of a group. That combined with the focus on basketball really makes it difficult for me to look beyond this movie.
Put this on, and it will really be difficult for me to do anything but sit down and watch it.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.