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Everything You Wanted to Know About Basketball Movies

The long awaited sequel to the Michael Jordan and Looney Toons movie Space Jam from 1996 is finally happening. Space Jam 2 is set to release in July 2024, twenty-five years after the original cult classic appeared. Over these years, the movie industry has constantly been expanding, and as a result, the total number of basketball related movies jumped from 20 to 147. 

This massive expansion and rise were largely influenced by none other than “His Royal Airness”, Michael Jordan. Thanks to his worldwide fame and popularity, as well as the dominance in the NBA, helped the game of basketball to become a true global sport. What it also did is spread the influence of this beautiful game outside of the sports realm and into the cinemas and TVs.

This chart shows us how many movies appeared in which decade. As you can see, the biggest rise changed between the 1980s and the 1990s, increasing ever further during the 2000s and 2010s.

Although they all deal with basketball, these movies are also spread across multiple subgenres and range from drama to comedy. The analysis of the experts working at RunRepeat shows that the many basketball documentaries and biographies, together with dramas, are the winning formula in telling a basketball story on the big screen. 

On the other end of the spectrum, action and music related hoops movies tend to do very poorly, evident by their lower average scores on the king of all move related statistics, Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

According to IMDB and their ratings for all basketball movies, we can easily see which ones are the best of the bunch. Following is a list of top 10 basketball movies, according to the IMDB reviews:

1. Maurie (1973)

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2. The Last Picture Show (1971)

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3. The Fair Co-Ed (1927)

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4. Jayhawkers (2014)

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5. Rebound: The Legend of Earl “The Goat” Manigault (1996)

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6. Hoosiers (1986)

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7. Inside Moves (1980)

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8. Coach Carter (2005)

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9. The Basketball Diaries (1995)

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10. Finding Forrester (2000)

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Now, although these 10 are the best-reviewed movies by the fans and critics, that does not mean they are also the ones that made the most at the box office. The list of basketball movies that made the most profit is very different from the one we have just seen. This is something Hollywood is known for, because movies that have the highest reviews do not bring in a lot of cash. Blockbusters however earn back double, or triple the money needed to make the movie, only at the opening weekend box office.

Following is another list of top 10 basketball movies list, this time in the order of how much they earned. These are the highest-grossing basketball movies of all time:

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  1. Space Jam (1996) – $250.2 million
  2. White Men Can’t Jump (1992) – $90.7 million
  3. Finding Forrester (2000) – $80 million
  4. Coach Carter (2005) – $76.6 million
  5. John Tucker Must Die (2006) – $68.8 million
  6. Like Mike (2002) – $62.4 million
  7. Uncle Drew (2018) – $45.6 million
  8. Semi-Pro (2008) – $43.9 million
  9. Glory Road (2006) – $42.8 million
  10. Forget Paris (1995) – $33.2 million

Highest-paid Serbian NBA players of all time

Serbia is known by its citizens as “The Land of Basketball”, and throughout its long sports history, the country has had some amazing talent in this sport. From the days of Yugoslavia until now, Serbian basketball players have been at the very top of the world. In the NBA, some true stars have come and gone, from Vlade Divac who opened the way to European players into the NBA, to the latest Serbian starts like Nikola Jokic and Bogdan Bogdanovic, NBA players born in Serbia left a significant mark in the best basketball league in the world. Since 1989, 21 Serbian players have played in the NBA. So far, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic, Nikola Jokic, and Bogdan Bogdanovic have had the most success in the league. 

However, which Serbian player has earned the most so far from his NBA career? RunRepeat performed an in-depth analysis of salaries in the NBA, thanks to which we can now see the average salary in the league and how it has been growing since 1991 up to this latest season. Right now, the salary cap in the NBA is significantly higher than it used to be, and second unit players and those with very limited roles and playing time earn as much or more than some of the biggest superstars during the previous decades. This is why players who play in today’s league average higher overall salaries than their colleagues have in the 80s and the 90s. Check out the chart below:

We have to mention that this amazing analysis was adjusted both for inflation and salary cap, in order to better measure the differences between eras in the NBA. When every important factor is involved, we are left with the following list of the top earning Serbian basketball players in the NBA:

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  1. Bogdan Bogdanovic- $4.97 million
  2. Vlade Divac – $4.83 million
  3. Nikola Jokic – $3.84 million
  4. Darko Milicic – $3.34 million
  5. Milos Teodosic – $3.3 million
  6. Boban Marjanovic – $3.02 million
  7. Marko Jaric – $2.7 million
  8. Nemanja Bjelica – $2.5 million
  9. Zeljko Rebraca – $2.46 million
  10. Dragan Tarlac – $0.9 million

Nikola Jokic and Bogdan Bogdanovic are two of the most prominent young rising stars in the league at the moment, and by the end of their respective NBA careers, they will have certainly improved their salary averages considerably. 

Jokic is in currently in season two of his five-year, super-max, $148 million contract with the Denver Nuggets. Bogdanovic is on a three-year, $27 million contract with the Sacramento Kings. Names that closely follow this top ten include Nenad Krstic, Zarko Caparkapa, Miroslav Raduljica, Igor Rakocevic, and others.

Furthermore, Belgrade holds the sixth spot among cities outside the USA with the highest average NBA salaries. 

There’s no doubt that more Serbian players will come in the league in future. For now, we can already enjoy watching how Nikola Jokic, Bogdan Bogdanovic and others play. These are good times for Serbian basketball for sure!

About Michael Farmiga