OPINION: Top five sports movies/TV shows
There have been many sports movies and TV shows to watch this past year. There was a new iteration of ‘Space Jam’ starring LeBron James and ‘The Last Dance,’ a 10-part series showing one of the greatest players ever to play the game of basketball, Michael Jordan.
There has not been any shortage of content to devour if you are a sports fanatic like myself.
Keeping this in mind, I decided to rank my top five greatest sports movies and TV shows for this week’s issue.
5. White Men Can’t Jump: It has been 30 years since Woody Harrelson and Wesley Snipes filmed this all-time classic. The film is about Billy Hoyle (Woody Harrelson), a former collegiate basketball player who hustles other streetballers that assume he can’t play because he is white. His counterpart is Sidney Deane (Wesley Snipes), a well-known streetballer who has beaten Billy a few times in a game of one-on-one for money.
Sidney proposes a partnership where they team up to hustle other streetballers by having the opposing teams pick Billy as Sidney’s teammate.
There is a famous scene in the movie where Billy bets Sidney a share of their $5,000 that Billy can dunk, and Sidney gives him three chances while telling him the famous line, “white men can’t jump.”
Billy failed to dunk the ball, and the movie goes on with different instances of Billy trying to hustle and find ways to get back the money he previously lost.
This movie is so remarkable because it appeals to a broad audience. Whether Black or white, something is intriguing about the film because it touches on the cultural impact basketball can have by bringing two people together from different backgrounds. It is a must-watch film.
4. The Blind Side: I have to admit, I first saw this film last week and was appalled at myself for not seeing this movie ten years ago.
Based on a true story, Michael Oher (Quinton Aaron) is a young boy who grew up in the projects of Memphis. He drifts in and out of different school systems for many years until he runs into Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), walking in the rain while looking for a place to sleep.
The Tuohys offer him a place for that night and eventually become his legal guardians. He enrolls in a private school and eventually learns how to play football.
As the movie progresses, it is apparent how much Michael cares for this family and would do anything to protect them. The film’s theme is Michael’s protective instincts and how that could carry over to the gridiron.
Michael ends up playing at Ole Miss and then is drafted by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round of the 2009 draft.
This film is wholesome and will undoubtedly make your eyes water.
3. Space Jam: Yes, the 1996 classic ‘Space Jam’ made my list. As a kid, I probably watched this movie 100 times.
When an evil alien theme park owner sends his gang to kidnap Bugs Bunny and the Looney Tunes, Bugs suggests a game of basketball to determine the outcome of their fate, but to his surprise, the aliens from Moron Mountain steal NBA players’ powers in hopes to beat them.
Once Bugs finds this information out, he recruits Michael Jordan to help save the Looney Tunes.
I’ll admit this film has a different tone than the previous two. But the nostalgia mixed with my favorite sports icon growing up is a no-brainer for me to list this movie at number three.
It is a feel-good film that does not evoke much emotion and is just a light-hearted, goofy, fun motion picture.
2. Friday Night Lights (TV series): I don’t know what it is about Texas and small-town football, but I binged every season of this series multiple times.
The show follows a group of players through high school. Eventually, it shows the struggles of the backup quarterback, Matt Saracen, as he looks to take over the starting job from Jason Street after Street becomes paralyzed in the pilot while making a tackle from an interception that he throws early in the game.
There are so many loveable characters in this series, which gives it the perfect humor and seriousness to keep the viewer locked in. Tim Riggins has to be my favorite character in the show. Riggins is a nonchalant, bruising fullback, played by Taylor Kitsch, who spends most of his time drinking beer while he is off the football field.
Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) and Tami Taylor (Connie Britton) also are hard not to fall in love with, as Taylor is the head coach for the Dillon Panthers, and his wife Tami works at the same high school.
I enjoy this show personally because it reminds me of high school and all the issues surrounding being a teenager, like dating, navigating puberty and having minimal responsibilities.
This show is a must-see if you have some time on your hands.
1. The Last Dance: My favorite documentary of all time. Sure, Michael Jordan is on my list twice but for great reason. He is the greatest basketball player ever to lace up. Sorry, LeBron fans; it’s just the truth.
The 10-part series details how fierce and competitive Jordan was and the lengths he was willing to go to get the best out of his teammates.
It shows the 90’s Chicago Bulls in all aspects. From Dennis Rodman running off to Las Vegas for a couple of nights during the season, issues between the team and the General Manager Jerry Krause, who wanted to break the group up after winning their sixth championship during their run in the 90s, or rumors about Michael Jordan leaving the league for 18 months due to excessive gambling, the series has everything.
The behind-the-scenes footage had never been seen until recently, making it that much more interesting to see footage nearly 25 years later of one of the most incredible runs in sports history.
The docuseries also shows Jordan’s rise from the 80s until his last season with the Chicago Bulls. So the series does a beautiful job at cataloging Jordan’s journey from the younger years when he couldn’t get out of the first round of the playoffs.
This documentary is must-see and there was not an episode that I did not enjoy.