All of the Basketball Movies on HBO Max

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HBO Max has recently completely dropped off the map in terms of basketball movies, readily ceding the title for the best streaming service for basketball movies to Hulu. Still, there are some important title to catch if you’re an HBO Max subscriber. In this post, we’re gonna cover the best basketball movies on HBO Max in 2023.

We’re focused mostly on features here. I have mentioned a few interesting documentaries here. But this is where HBO shines, so if you’re interested specifically in documentary, there are just so many that they warranted a whole post dedicated specifically to basketball documentaries on HBO Max. And if you can’t find anything on HBO, I’ve got similar posts covering Netflix, Hulu and Disney+.

Basketball Movies on HBO Max

Space Jam: A New Legacy (2008)

space jam: a new legacy poster

LeBron takes over the Jordan role in a reboot of the classic basketball ‘living animation’. From the drop, this one is better than the original. LBJ can’t act, but Don Cheadle makes up for it, even if it’s not his best work at all. Still, the effects and animation are good enough and the movie is overall entertaining.

Critics haven’t been kind. A release date in the middle of a pandemic probably didn’t help. But criticizing a kid’s movie, especially an athlete-driven sports movie, is totally unreasonable. As far as I can tell, the kids have been digging this.

And I’m not the best representative for adults, but I kinda like it myself. Maybe like is too strong a word. I tolerate it, but in a way where it perfectly lives up to a low expectation.

Semi-Pro (2008)

semi-pro promo image

This may be Will Ferrel’s least beloved film.

Make no mistake, this movie is what you sign up for. It is Taladega Nights on a basketball court, minus some of the larger laughs.

Still, even at a 38% audience rating and a 22% on the tomato-meter, I’ll take the basketball court over driving in circles any day.

Teen Wolf (1985) – rated PG

Teen Wolf - promo image

If you’re in the mood for nostalgia, this one is highly watchable.

In fact, Teen Wolf is more watchable than it sounds. I’m not a fan of any of the elements of this 80’s teen studio horor/comedy of sorts. Other than MJF of course. But I enjoyed the movie.

Not completely a basketball movie, but basketball plays an important role throughout the film.

You can also rent Teen Wolf on Amazon.

Finding Forester (2008)

Finding Forrester - promo image

Kinda a mixed bag in this one, directed by Gus Van Sant, it sometimes gets criticized as an unimaginative remake of his 1997 Good Will Hunting.

I dunno, the guy has made some good movies. Maybe he just has an interest in genius. Whatever the truth may be, we get a great rookie performance from Rob Brown, who apparently auditioned as an extra. And a fine performance from Connery, as an angry old Scot.

Basketball features, perhaps not prominently, but it features.

Thunderstruck (2012)

Thunderstruck - promo image

I don’t know how you could love basketball and not be captivated by Kevin Durant. Say what you want about the guy, that jump shot is a thing of beauty.

Yeah, one of the whatever’s you might say something about is that he seems to kinda do things that benefit himself. You know, like running to whatever team might be closest to a title, or whatever situation might set him up for the highest payout.

If you criticize a dude for capitalizing on his talent, genetics or work ethic, you’re not really being fair. That being said, this was a bad movie. So, I hope he got paid.

Somehow, it has a 70% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Basketball Series’ on HBO Max

Ahhh, there is a very interesting basketball series about the Lakers on HBO Max. There seems to be quite a bit of confusion here, as this is often mistaken as a movie for some reason.

In fact, it is a 10-episode series covering the ‘lakers dynasty’, and featuring John C Reilly. And it is called Winning Time.

There’s also Degrassi.

Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (2022)

Winning Time - promo image

A lot of what you’d expect, and some of what you might not. We were pretty obsessed with the Lakers in 2022 for some reason. Some of that seemed to even spread out into 2023, right up to May when they crumbled to the Nuggets.

At any rate, there was a lot of content produced that focused on the generational success of the franchise, particularly with Jerry Bus and Kareem up through the Magic years.

If you’re honest, the NBA isn’t the same without this team, and this period in time. Winning Time is an entertaining dramatization of an already entertaining period in basketball history. It takes a crucial period in NBA history and wraps it up in a super entertaining package. John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss is just awesome.

Degrassi: The Next Generation (2001)

I suppose you could be forgiven for not knowing that Degrassi featured basketball heavily. If you’re into teen drama and teen Drake, give it a shot.

HBO Basketball Documentaries

Seriously, HBO Max is the streaming service for basketball documentaries. Here are a couple of top options, but I’ve got a more complete post over here where you can dig through the whole stack.

Hoop Dreams (1994)

Hoop Dreams - promo image

Hoop Dreams is a true classic. This 1994 documentary film directed by Steve James and produced by Frederick Marx, James, and Peter Gilbert, with Kartemquin Films follows the journey of two African-American high school students, William Gates and Arthur Agee, from Chicago and their dreams of making it big in the world of basketball.

It’s an incredible story of talent, dedication, and resilience, as the featured personalities battle through personal and financial hardships to make their mark in the game.

The documentary was originally intended to be a 30-minute short film. The filmmakers ended up five years in with 250 hours of footage. Premiering at Sundance, the film would garner countless awards, and .

It’s also been included in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress, and ranks #1 on the International Documentary Association’s 2007 list of the Top 25 Documentaries of all time. It’s an inspiring story of two kids with a dream, and if you haven’t seen it yet, it’s definitely worth a watch. Hoop Dreams is a timeless basketball classic.

Kareem: Minority of One (2015)

Kareem: Minority of One - promo image

I absolutely love this guy. The more I understand about Kareem, the more conviction I have in the belief that he was just the basketball player we needed, right when we needed him.

He wasn’t Bill Russell. He definitely wasn’t Wilt. Kareem was and is Kareem and his game and life are fascinating to behold. I’m not at all a Lakers fan, BTW.

HBO’s ‘Kareem: Minority of One’ sheds new light on his life and career through archival footage and intimate interviews with fans, family, teammates, opponents and the man himself.

“if you’re in a racist society and you’re being discriminated against, it’s up to you to do something for yourself.” – Karrem Abdul-Jabbar

Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals (2010)

Magic Johnson and Larry Bird had a little bit of a rivalry going in their day. I get the feeling Bird had a lot of rivalries. But Magic was capable of giving back.

This documentary examines the bond between these two incredible competitors. It follows the pair from their first big on-court matchup in the 1979 NCAA Division I championship, through to their meetings with the Lakers and Celtics throughout the 80’s.