Ranked: 25 best basketball movies, from ‘Hoosiers’ to LeBron James biopic ‘Shooting Stars’
Shaquille O’Neal and Leonardo DiCaprio will probably never share an alley-oop on a fast break, but in the sports movie subgenre of basketball flicks, they’re both big stars.
Hoops and Hollywood intersect quite a bit – all you have to do is look at celebrity row at a Los Angeles Lakers game, where Jack Nicholson still hangs out – and whether on the big screen or a streaming service, underdog roundball stories are like comfort food for the sporty soul. The latest of these is “Shooting Stars” (streaming on Peacock), a look back at LeBron James’ days as a high school phenom, the talented peers he had growing up around him in Ohio and their quest to become the best team in the country.
In honor of a newcomer to the canon, we’re celebrating by ranking the top 25 basketball movies of all time.
25. ‘Chang Can Dunk’ (2023)
Whether you’ve got great jumping skills or not, it’s easy to relate to the charming coming-of-age film’s title character (Bloom Li), a 5-foot-8 Asian American band kid with a love for Kobe Bryant and moxie to spare. When the school jock bets him he can’t dunk, and Chang wants to impress the new girl at school, the teen goes on a quest full of physically draining drills, social-media attention and self-discovery.
Where to watch:Disney+
24. ‘Blue Chips’ (1994)
Bugaboos of college basketball, from gambling to corruption to illegal payments for athletes, are part of the playbook for the drama from director William Friedkin (“The Exorcist”). Nick Nolte is the irascible Western University coach based on Bobby Knight (who also makes an appearance) while co-stars Shaquille O’Neal and Penny Hardaway give the film some serious rim-rattling cred.
Where to watch:Amazon Prime Video, Paramount+, MGM+
23. ‘High Flying Bird’ (2019)
Steven Soderbergh’s modern foray into the wheeling and dealing of pro ball – filmed entirely via iPhone – stars André Holland as a sports agent with a rookie client (Melvin Gregg). An NBA lockout forces them to look outside the box and a testy game of one-on-one that goes viral turns into a moneymaking opportunity, though one that’s risky for the youngster’s future.
Where to watch:Netflix
22. ‘Cornbread, Earl and Me’ (1975)
It’s a trip to see a teenage Laurence Fishburne make his film debut in this drama starring NBA standout Jamaal Wilkes as Cornbread, a good-hearted and gawky talent who’s the popular big man of his neighborhood on the way to a college career. Tragedy strikes involving cops and an innocent man, and residents want justice in a retro movie that still feels timely.
Where to watch:DVD
21. ‘Glory Road’ (2006)
The story of how Texas Western coach Don Haskins (Josh Lucas) took an all-black starting lineup – the first in NCAA history – to a championship title in 1966 against mighty all-white Kentucky is an obvious inspiration for a big-screen underdog tale. Sure, it leans predictable but still works thanks to standout basketball action and strong performances by Lucas and Derek Luke.
Where to watch:Disney+, Apple TV
20. ‘Shooting Stars’ (2023)
When it doesn’t look like their pal (Caleb McLaughlin) is going to make the basketball squad, his three longtime teammates decide not to go to their local high school and instead enroll in a private academy so they can keep playing together. Oh, and did we mention one of those guys was teenage LeBron (Mookie Cook)? It’s an insightful coming-of-age look at the importance of friendship and the creation of a superstar.
Where to watch:Peacock
19. ‘Forget Paris’ (1995)
Billy Crystal directs and stars in the decently sweet romantic comedy as an NBA referee who takes his recently deceased father’s ashesto France and falls for an airline employee (Debra Winger). Their relationship goes through its ups and downs, but the best stuff is on the court, where Crystal gets to riff with an assortment of basketball icons, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Isiah Thomas.
Where to watch:Apple TV, Amazon
18. ‘The Basketball Diaries’ (1995)
A scrawny Leonardo DiCaprio leads the biopic as high school hoopster and fledgling writer Jim Carroll, whose life goes off the rails when he gets mixed up in drugs and crime. The melodrama is pretty overwrought, though the cast is top notch, including Mark Wahlberg as one of Jim’s ill-behaved buddies and Ernie Hudson as a kindly sort who tries to get Jim right.
Where to watch: Vudu
17. ‘Above the Rim’ (1994)
A whole lot of drama follows Duane Martin as a New York City high school senior who, while waiting to find out if he’ll play at Georgetown, gets caught up in the goings-on between a former star (Leon) and a drug dealer (Tupac Shakur). The basketball scenes are solid, and Shakur is especially good as the film’s vicious heavy.
16. ‘The Fish That Saved Pittsburgh’ (1979)
Philadelphia 76ers legend “Dr. J” Julius Erving headlines the goofy disco-era delight as Moses Guthrie, star of the lowly Pittsburgh Pythons. The team goes on a championship run when an astrologer (Stockard Channing) pitches the wacky idea to the owner (Jonathan Winters) that Moses should have only Pisces teammates. Only in the movies, folks.
Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu
15. ‘O’ (2001)
Tim Blake Nelson’s intense teen drama is a decently effective modern reimagining of Shakespeare’s “Othello.” Mekhi Phifer is talented star player Odin, whose bright future and relationship with young Desi (Julia Stiles) are at risk, thanks to the shady and jealous machinations of the Iago-esque Hugo (Josh Hartnett).
14. ‘Uncle Drew’ (2018)
It turns out putting a bunch of pro players in gray hair and aging makeup is sort of hilarious. Kyrie Irving shines in the soulful comedy as the philosophical title character (who’s got some ankle-breaking moves), Chris Webber’s a power-forward preacher, Reggie Miller’s a nearly blind shooter and Shaquille O’Neal is the scene-stealing kung fu center.
13. ‘Coach Carter’ (2005)
Samuel L. Jackson brings the coolness and loads of tough love as a coach who returns to his old high school, gives the youngsters life lessons and locks out his undefeated team – and causes a ruckus – when they don’t make the grade in the classroom as well as on the court. (Plus, it’s worth a watch for the film debut of Channing Tatum and an Ashanti appearance.)
Where to watch:Showtime, Apple TV
12. ‘Space Jam’ (1996)
Whether you grew up with Bugs Bunny’s antics or His Airness, there’s plenty to enjoy in the live-action/animated hybrid in which Michael Jordan and his golf partner Bill Murray are recruited by Bugs and the Looney Tunes gang to take on the Monstars, a super-duper squad of aliens with the abilities of NBA legends such as Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley. Choose this over the LeBron James “Space Jam” every time.
Where to watch:Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV
11. ‘Finding Forrester’ (2000)
Gus Van Sant’s satisfying albeit schmaltzy drama centers on an African American star (Rob Brown) at an upper-crust private school who’s as gifted a writer as he is a baller. The source of inspiration in this story isn’t a coach but rather a reclusive Pulitzer-winning novelist (Sean Connery), who brings out the best in the youngster and vice versa.
10. ‘The Way Back’ (2020)
Starring as an alcoholic onetime hoops star who returns to his alma mater to coach a losing team, Ben Affleck turns in one of his best performances in a drama that manages to buck expectations, avoid formulaic hokum and deliver on a gripping addiction narrative.
9. ‘Teen Wolf’ (1985)
Michael J. Fox not only time-traveled in a DeLorean back in ’85, he also transformed into a slam-dunking, van-surfing werewolf. The high school comedy stars Fox as a teen whose basketball skills get way better when he gets furry, though his new success brings extra coming-of-age problems.
8. ‘Hustle’ (2022)
Adam Sandler brings dramatic skills and comedic chops to bear as Stanley Sugerman, a Philadelphia 76ers scout who discovers streetballer Bo Cruz (Utah Jazz player Juancho Hernangómez) in Spain and brings him to America. Both find they need each other in a rousing, “Rocky”-esque narrative chock-full of NBA figures and Sandler zingers.
Where to watch:Netflix
7. ‘Love & Basketball’ (2000)
There’s some definite truth in advertising with that title: Sanaa Lathan and Omar Epps sizzle as the central couple of next-door neighbors who dream of becoming professional basketball players, reach their dreams and – you guessed it – fall for each other along the way.
Where to watch: Apple TV, Vudu
6. ‘Uncut Gems’ (2019)
If “Die Hard” is a Christmas movie, then Adam Sandler’s two-hour anxiety fest is a hoops flick. Real NBA all-star Kevin Garnett plays a version of himself obsessed with a rare opal, Sandler is the gambling jeweler trying to make serious bank off the rock, and a close playoff game fuels the tension-filled last act.
Where to watch:Showtime, Apple TV
5. ‘White Men Can’t Jump’ (1992)
Pickup games, “yo mama” jokes and incandescent star chemistry fuel the comedy featuring a slick Wesley Snipes and geeky Woody Harrelson teaming up as a pair of trash-talking rival hustlers. The movie tackles relationships and race but allows for serious fun, as in the iconic scene in which Harrelson tries to dunk. As a great man once said, “It’s hard work being this good.”
Where to watch:Hulu, Tubi, Apple TV
4. ‘Air’ (2023)
Part ticking-clock thriller, part nostalgia trip and all business, director Ben Affleck’s captivating and entertaining tale looks back at Nike’s pursuit of a rookie Michael Jordan in the 1980s and the origin of the legendary Air Jordan shoe. Matt Damon plays the talent scout who needs to convince Jordan’s mom (a great Viola Davis) to sign before it’s too late, and Affleck himself takes on the role of enigmatic Nike main man Phil Knight.
Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video
3. ‘Hoosiers’ (1986)
A film that’s in the annals of most folks’ favorite sports movies, “Hoosiers” has an undeniable feel-good spirit with the 1950s-set story of disgraced college coach Norman Dale (a fabulous Gene Hackman), who’s kind of an abusive jerk, taking small-town Hickory High on one heck of a run for the Indiana state championship. It’s no “Rudy,” yet still an underdog classic.
Where to watch:Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, YouTube, Apple TV
2. ‘Hoop Dreams’ (1994)
One of the best documentaries ever made definitely deserves to make this list. The film spectacularly uses the story of two black teens in Chicago, William Gates and Arthur Agee, and their pie-in-the-sky goals of playing in the NBA to highlight issues of class, race and education in America.
Where to watch:Max, Peacock, Vudu, Freevee, YouTube
1. ‘He Got Game’ (1998)
Spike Lee’s stupendous work features a fantastic Denzel Washington as Jake Shuttlesworth, a convict at Attica who’s paroled in order to get his estranged son Jesus (Ray Allen), a top-ranked recruit, to go to the governor’s alma mater. “Game” offers great performances, a gripping narrative and an intriguing vibe of modern Americana given Lee’s deft use of Aaron Copland music.
Where to watch:Apple TV, Amazon
More on hoops in Hollywood:
Ranked: Get a laugh out of the best basketball comedies
‘It’s called Hollywood, brother’: Jack Harlow says his game is lacking in ‘White Men Can’t Jump’
Leonardo DiCaprio: Every one of the A-lister’s movies, definitively ranked (including ‘The Basketball Diaries’)
‘We belong in this world, too’: ‘Champions’ puts disabled actors in the spotlight
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: LeBron James’ ‘Shooting Stars’: The 25 best basketball movies ranked
Student loans: Borrower advocates press for Biden veto on ‘shameful’ student debt bill
Student loan borrower advocates called for the president to veto a bill that would reverse months of forbearance and potentially cancel debt forgiveness that some borrowers have already received.
The resolution — which passed the Senate this week with support from Sen. Kyrsten Simena (I-Ariz.) and two Democrats, Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Jon Tester (D-Mont.) — would repeal President Joe Biden’s most recent extension of the student loan payment pause, which has suspended most federal student loan payments and interest through this summer.
It would also prevent the implementation of Biden’s up to $20,000 cancellation of student debt — regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on the legality of the program likely this month.
Borrower advocates worry that if the bill is not vetoed as Biden has promised, 40 million student loan borrowers could face backpay for those paused payments and have new interest charges added to their debt. They also are concerned that debt cancellation borrowers recently received would be reversed.
“It is shameful that legislators would endorse measures that harm the very heroes in our communities — veterans and nurses — who are still grappling with the aftermath of the pandemic and its profound economic impact,” Natalia Abrams, executive director of the Student Debt Crisis Center, said in a statement. “We urge President Biden to fulfill his promise to veto this bill and put an end to these attacks against hardworking families ensnared in debt.”
The bill’s passage, which shocked borrower advocates, comes after the White House this week agreed to not extend the forbearance and that paused student payments would restart in September — regardless of the Supreme Court outcome — in a debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.).
“Today’s vote makes crystal clear exactly who stood up and fought to protect the economic livelihoods of millions of people with student loan debt — and who schemed to keep them drowning in the debt despair of our nation’s student loan crisis,” Mike Pierce, executive director of the Student Borrowers Protection Center, said in a statement.
Whether the bill would require borrowers to pay back payments remains an open question that Republicans who supported the bill have pushed back on.
“Nowhere in this resolution does it mandate backpay,” Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-N.C.) said last week. “It is prospective, not retrospective. If anything, it will be [Education] Secretary Cardona’s decision to enact backpay.”
Borrower advocates also contend that the resolution would reinstate debt for borrowers who received debt cancellation under the public service loan forgiveness (PSLF) program. That’s because each month of paused payments under forbearance counted toward debt forgiveness for these borrowers.
“The impact of this bill…would push hundreds of thousands of public service workers back into debt and require the government to charge tens of millions of borrowers for interest that has already been cancelled,” Pierce said.
Around 268,660 public service workers who received debt cancellation from September 2022 through March 2023 through the Public Service Loan Forgiveness (PSLF) program would have $19.5 billion in debt put back in place as a result of the bill, according to a AFT/SBPC report.
“If enacted, it will cause irreparable damage to an already severely broken student loan system,” Pierce said, “and undermine Americans’ trust in our government.”
Ronda is a personal finance senior reporter for Yahoo Finance and attorney with experience in law, insurance, education, and government.
Follow her on Twitter @writesrondaRead the latest personal finance trends and news from Yahoo Finance. Follow Yahoo Finance on Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Flipboard, and LinkedIn
Businessman gets life in prison over Haitian president’s assassination
A businessman has been sentenced to life in prison for helping Colombian mercenaries get weapons to assassinate Haitian President Jovenel Moise in 2021.
From:Skynews – World News
Trader Joe’s responds to ‘conspiratorial theories’ about its small parking lots
Any fan of Trader Joe’s knows that the joy of picking up a jar of Everything But The Bagel seasoning is weighed against the despair of dealing with the specialty grocer’s often sardine-like parking lots. Well, for frustrated customers everywhere, the brand has offered an explanation.
The popular specialty grocer has a podcast called “Inside Trader Joe’s,” where hosts and employees Tara Miller and Matt Sloan discuss subjects like why Trader Joe’s doesn’t have online shopping or tips on navigating its wine selection and more.
An episode from October 10, 2022 titled, “What’s Up With Trader Joe’s Parking Lots” has offered a definitive reason as to why we all need to take a deep breath and say a prayer before parking at most TJ’s locations.
“Here’s a tweet,” Miller said, pointing to a trio of tweets about TJ’s parking lots, including one from June 2022 where a user aptly and sarcastically compares their brain to a Trader Joe’s parking lot. This serves as a jumping off point for the discussion.
The inside of my brain is like a Trader Joe’s parking lot
— Chloe Cogan (@BreakingSad69) June 17, 2022
“Matt, what is up with our parking lots?” Miller asks Sloan.
“Like a lot of things related to Trader Joe’s, this can be traced back to the very first location, the Arroyo Parkway store in Pasadena, which has had, and still very much has a challenging parking lot. And by that, I mean it’s small and it’s busy,” Sloan said of the first store that opened in 1967 which still operates to this day — and appears to have a parking lot tantamount to a game of Tetris.
“That size factor, it’s small, and the busyness factor, lots of people parking cars, well, those are the two reasons that our parking lots can be, well, a bit challenging,” he continues.
Miller then explains that Trader Joe’s stores are small, and on purpose, too. The powers-that-be at TJ’s have always held true to the more personal nature of its interiors rather than the cavernous nature of other big box stores, although the company said they tend to have just as many customers at one time.
“There tend to be a lot of people, maybe not even more people than you might find in a regular grocery store,” Miller said. “But if our stores are 10,000 square feet and those stores are 70,000 square feet, it feels like more people. But what does that have to do with the parking?”
Sloan offers the answer.
“When you design a parking space or you allocate spaces for parking for a retail store, it’s based on the size of the store,” Sloan said, perhaps pointing the finger at city planners, who clearly have not tried TJ’s Mandarin Orange Chicken. “So you mentioned how small our stores are relative to other grocers. Well, that’s true and that can have an effect on the number of parking spaces allocated.”
“A 12,000 square foot store will get far fewer parking spaces than a 70,000 square foot store,” Miller adds.
“Yes,” Sloan responds. “Now let’s say that 12,000 square foot store has 500 people visiting and the giant store has a 100 people visiting, the parking lots are going to feel very different.”
“If you spend any time on social media, looking at things about Trader Joe’s, you will find there are lots of conspiratorial theories about our parking lots and people out there in the world really seem to think, not all people, but a number of people, that we are purposefully making horrible parking lots,” Miller says,
This mirrors a lot of chatter on social media, with funny tweets, TikTok videos and even Reddit threads on specific TJ’s parking lots that are trouble spots in locations as far flung as Massachusetts and Florida.
Trader Joes parking lot on a Sunday morning
— Raceweek Recap (@RaceweekRecap) May 28, 2023
There are even memes, as evidenced by a funny Reddit post called, “Trader Joe’s Parking Lot Starter Pack.”
“The argument could be made, ‘Hey, Trader Joe’s just make your stores bigger.’ But that kind of changes who we are. We have small stores, so they come with small parking lots,” Miller says. “If we had bigger stores, sure we’d have bigger parking lots, but we’d feel like a different store.”
Miller says TJ’s gets accused of opening stores with the world’s most ridiculous parking lots on purpose all the time. “That’s not our plan. We try to get as much parking as possible. In some municipalities, we can’t get any parking at all,” Miller says, adding that some TJ’s have absolutely no parking at all.
“Parking can be an energized experience,” Sloan says, thanking the TJ’s crew for taking care by collecting carts and keeping things moving in lots across the country. “And thanks to you for taking up the challenge to find that spot when you do your shopping.”
So, the next time you’re about to scream because someone took the last parking space on your next visit maybe just sing that immortal Joni Mitchell verse from “Big Yellow Taxi” instead, and exercise a little patience.
This article was originally published on TODAY.com
GOP requires pledge to back nominee for first presidential debate
The Republican National Committee is requiring presidential hopefuls to pledge to support the party’s eventual nominee if they want to participate in the GOP’s first primary debate in Milwaukee on Aug. 23.
The pledge comes as a handful of Republican presidential hopefuls have hedged whether they would support former President Donald Trump if he wins the party’s presidential nomination.
Former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is set to announce his presidential bid next week, told Axios earlier this year that he could never support Trump again.
Other potential Republican candidates, like New Hampshire Republican Gov. Chris Sununu, have gonea different route: Sununu argued that while he will back the nominee, Trump won’t be that person next year.
And Trump himself hasn’t said if he’d sign such a pledge: “There are probably people that I wouldn’t be very happy about endorsing who are running, so we’ll see,” he said in March.
NBC News has also reported that Trump is considering skipping the first Republican debates.
Republicans will hold their first presidential primary debate in Wisconsin in late August. The field will meet on Aug. 23, and if enough candidates have qualified, the RNC will add another event on Aug. 24. Early Democratic debates in 2019 and Republican debates in 2015 split candidates up over multiple days because of the size of the field.
On top of pledging to support the nominee, the party also wants candidates to meet a series of polling and fundraising thresholds and to pledge not to participate in any non-RNC sponsored debate.
Last year, the RNC voted to require its candidates not to join general election debates sponsored by the Commission on Presidential Debates, a bipartisan group that has run general election presidential debates for decades, through the 2020 race between Trump and President Joe Biden.
Would-be Republican presidential debaters will also need to meet broad polling requirements, hitting at least 1% in three qualifying national polls conducted after July 1 — or in two national polls plus one poll from Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada or South Carolina.
The RNC did not identify a list of sanctioned pollsters, instead releasing broad methodological criteria it would accept in qualifying polls. Two of the criteria: a sample size of at least 800 registered likely Republican voters and results that were not “overly” weighted.
The sample size could be an important issue: Relatively few pollsters — including many of the firms that partner with media organizations — contact that many respondents in primary polls, in part because of the high costs associated with calling people by phone.
For example, NBC News’ last poll in August surveyed 1,000 registered voters overall.
Republican candidates will also need to raise money from a minimum of 40,000 unique donors, including 200 unique donors from at least 20 states and territories, according to the newly released RNC criteria.
Setting donor thresholds isn’t new, as Democrats included a similar requirement for their debates in the 2020 election cycle. But during the first Democratic debate in 2019, candidates could qualify either through polling or by crossing a fundraising threshold. Republicans, this time, are requiring their candidates hit both.
Ahead of the Democratic Party’s first debate in 2019, the party said that 14 of its candidates had hit both the party’s 65,000 unique donor threshold and its polling threshold in time for that debate.
How this all-female Indonesian band is using metal music to inspire change
Watch this all-female Indonesian metal band rocking out to change the world.
Ford suing Blue Cross Blue Shield, alleging a price-fixing conspiracy
The automaker opted out of a $2.7 billion settlement last year to pursue its own claim against The Blues.