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Will Ferrell dons the tightie-tight shorts to play well-coiffed ABA trailblazer Jackie Moon in this silly hardwood comedy.
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GLORY ROAD (2006)
In 1966, Don Haskins, the basketball coach of Texas Western College made history by starting an all-black lineup against an all-white Kentucky team in the NCAA championship game. Josh Lucas stars in this relentlessly rousing drama, based on Haskins' bestselling autobiography.
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Age only improves this rousingly old-fashioned tale of a small-town high-school basketball team and the no-nonsense coach (Gene Hackman) who takes them further than any of them dared imagine. (There's no flash or pretense in the filmmaking or the performances; as on any well-trained team, everyone properly executes the fundamentals.) And we like what it says: Forget the obvious David-and-Goliath theme, this movie is really about redemption and second chances.
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THE HEART OF THE GAME (2005)
Take the aching high-school-life dramas of Friday Night Lights, transpose them to the world of girl's basketball, and you'll have something like Ward Serril's gripping documentary. We all could learn a thing or two from the young heroines of the Roosevelt High Roughriders. Comparisons to Hoop Dreams are inevitable, and entirely justified.
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Hubert Davis' deeply personal documentary explores the lives that were forever altered when his father, Harlem Globetrotter Mel Davis, left his mother and him for a white woman and her son.
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COACH CARTER (2005)
A high-school basketball coach (Samuel L. Jackson) dispenses a big can of tough love when he takes over a failing program and a dispirited team. Think Lean on Me meets Hoosiers — with even more shouting.
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ABOVE THE RIM (1994)
A high-school hoops star (played by Duane Martin) confronts two possible career paths on the eve of his graduation. An otherwise conventional sports drama remembered mostly for its believable on-court action and a memorable performance by the late Tupac Shakur.
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PISTOL: BIRTH OF A LEGEND (1991)
If the nickname ''Pistol'' doesn't immediately call to mind one of the most remarkable athletes to ever lace up a pair of high tops, you probably aren't a hoops fan. This is a modest (and, perhaps, too big-hearted) biopic that follows the early years of future NBA Hall-of-Famer ''Pistol'' Pete Maravich.
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REBOUND: THE LEGEND OF EARL 'THE GOAT' MANIGAULT (1996)
Don Cheadle and Forest Whitaker star in this engaging based-on-real-events HBO movie about Earl Manigault, a basketball phenom who achieved a mythic reputation on the courts of Harlem. (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar once called him the greatest player he had ever seen.) Manigault's life story is as remarkable as it is inspirational.
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THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH (1979)
A killer concept: Astrologer advises struggling pro basketball team to hire only players born under the sign of Pisces. A killer setting: disco-era Pittsburgh. And the gravity-defying artistry (and comedy stylings) of Julius ''Dr. J'' Erving. What's not to love?