I’m a sucker for a great basketball movie.
When I was a high school coach, I would always have a movie night to share an inspiring story with the team.
Here are six movies, inspired by true stories, that you’ve got to watch:
In 1965, Texas Western Coach Don Haskins recruited a team based on talent rather than race, and even though the team was winning, the conservative community was upset about it. Racial tensions escalated as players like Bobby Joe Hill and Harry Flournoy dominated the court with flashy moves and put the team’s future at risk. Learn more about Texas Western’s challenges on the way to the NCAA Tournament in this powerful movie based on a true story.
Believe in Me is the story of a girl’s basketball team in a small Oklahoma community during the mid-1960s who want to play basketball just as much as the boys do. The movie, based on the book Brief Garland: The True Story of coach Jim Keith, delves into the inequalities in girls’ sports pre-Title IX and tells the story of the coach, and the young women, who work for the chance to play the game they love. (In the movie the girl’s play five-on-five, but during that time in history girl’s played a six-on-six half-court game, some states still played the half-court game up until the early 1990’s. Learn more about the history of women’s basketball)
This classic basketball movie is loosely based on the true story of the inspirational basketball team, Milan High, that won the Indiana state title in 1954. Hoosiers is the story of a failed college coach with a checkered past who gets a second chance coaching a small town high school team. Coach Norman Dale faces many challenges, including criticism from the community, on the road to the Indiana state championship, and in the process teaches a group of young men the real meaning of team.
Hurricane season is the true story of Coach Al Collins, who, a year after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, gathers a group of young athletes to compete again in Louisiana. He works to build a cohesive team from athletes, who originally went to five different high schools, and in the process, they all learn the true meaning of survival.
In 1972, Coach Cathy Rush wanted to make a difference at Immaculata College, a small all-women’s school, but she ended up making history. Starting with no budget, no uniforms, and no gym, she and eleven young women worked to dominate bigger and better-funded schools on their way to compete in the first-ever national women’s college basketball championship. Watch the movie and cheer for the legendary Mighty Macs on their road to the championship.
Coach Carter is the true story of Ken Carter, the Richmond High School boy’s basketball coach, who made headlines for his emphasis on the importance of academics over athletics. I don’t want to ruin the movie if you haven’t seen it, but he even benches his entire team and locks them out of the gym to prove his point. As you can imagine, the athletes and the community are not happy about it. Check it out and see what happens.
The next time you are looking for a movie to watch or just want to be inspired, give one of these a try. Better yet, watch all six in a basketball movie marathon!