After a long hard day of shooting hoops, you likely want to sit down and relax. But instead of endlessly scanning Instagram and Twitter, why not watch a basketball documentary? There are a ton of incredibly high quality, important and thought-provoking documentaries worth checking out.
Some are inspirational and motivating, some tell a very worthwhile story and others give you an inside look at some of the brightest stars in basketball. No matter your preference, there is sure to be a basketball documentary that will hit the spot.
There are dozens and dozens of basketball documentaries out there you can (and should) watch. However, we have decided to take a look at five, in particular, to share with you the best basketball documentaries you can watch.
1. Hoop Dreams
I’ll never forget the first time I watched this documentary. Hoop Dreams is a breathtaking story about two basketball players, William Gates and Arthur Agee. It covers their journey from middle school all the way up to college as they try to live out their dreams of playing in the NBA. However, this documentary is about so much more than just basketball.
The documentary covers a variety of different issues such as race, social class, education and many others. The film looks at the highs and lows of life, and details the struggles that the boys go through while living in a lower-income neighborhood in Chicago. If you are a basketball fan and haven’t seen Hoop Dreams, I recommend you do.
Benji is a documentary that stars and features Ben Wilson. In 1983 and 1984, Wilson was seen as the best high school basketball player and was seemingly destined for the NBA. Unfortunately, Wilson never got the chance to reach his potential as he was killed in an altercation only days before his senior season was set to begin.
This documentary takes you through the rise and eventual demise of Ben Wilson. You learn about his skills, struggles, family and a variety of important topics. The film also touches on his legacy and how he has affected other local players, such as Derrick Rose. it is incredibly powerful and without a doubt deserves a spot on this list.
3. Without Bias
Drafted 2nd overall by the Boston Celtics in the 1986 NBA Draft, Len Bias was one of the most exciting college players since Michael Jordan. He was a big part of the Celtics future plans, but never played a game in the NBA. He passed away only days after being drafted as a result of a cocaine overdose.
This riveting documentary takes you through his rapid rise to stardom in college and the impact his death had on both college and professional basketball. You will see interviews from many important people in his life and those he was the closest with. Bias is perhaps the biggest “what if” in sports history, and this takes you through the sad journey of what happened to him.
Shut Up and Dribble is one of the newest basketball documentaries out there, and is also among the best. Stemming from the asinine phrase used to insult Lebron James, James and his team turned the phrase on its head and used it for the title of a documentary. The documentary focuses on the ever-changing role of the professional athlete, both socially and politically.
The documentary covers a ton that includes the social activism of players over time, the battle over power, and touches on many important (and infamous) events in both the NBA and out of the league. You will hear from Lebron James himself, as well as numerous other athletes and important individuals in the space. While this documentary is great for basketball fans, it is also about so much more than just basketball.
While he is not the greatest NBA player ever, Allen Iverson is certainly among the most influential. His look, attitude and play style all made huge and long-lasting impacts on basketball and culture as a whole. I know for me, he is the reason I started watching basketball and I’m sure the same can be said for many of your reading this article.
His self-titled documentary looks at his trials and tribulations throughout his life and NBA career. From his MVP win to his incarceration, this documentary pulls no punches. It truly gives you an inside look at Iverson as you hear from not only him, but a ton of his coaches, friends, family members and peers. If you want to learn who Allen Iverson is and truly see his influence, this documentary is worth a watch.
There you have it, some of the best basketball documentaries on the planet. Whether you want to learn about the game, learn about the behind the scenes struggles many players face or simply want to be entertained, we are sure one of these documentaries can help.
Is there a basketball documentary not mentioned that you believe deserves a spot on this list? If so, feel free to let us know in the comment section.