3 movies to motivate you to watch the NBA Finals

With the 2014 NBA Finals underway, here are three inspiring basketball films that should delight movie buffs and hoops fans alike.

The 6th Man

In “The 6th Man,” Antwan Tyler, played by Kadeem Hardison, and his little brother, Kenny, played by Marlon Wayans, seem poised to take the University of Washington Huskies basketball team to new heights. During a game, however, Antwan collapses due to cardiac issues and dies en route to the hospital. Kenny’s play and social life quickly deteriorates until he finally cries in agony “I need you” to his brother’s retired jersey in the rafters.

Little does Kenny know, his request allows Antwan to come back to finish what he started — as a ghost. Bizarre, and funny, events occur due to the ball-hogging poltergeist as the Huskies get back on track to going deep into March Madness. But, at what cost? While “The 6th Man” is primarily uplifting due to its light hearted, comical nature, it also has important themes of the importance of brotherhood and fair play.

Parents should be warned, however, that The 6th Man is rated PG-13 and has some foul language and crude moments.

Hoosiers

In “Hoosiers,” the Milan High School (Indiana) basketball team has very little going for it. Head coach Norman Dale, played by Gene Hackman, is an old-school coach who has limited options of teams he can coach after hitting a student at a previous job. The team is sparse on numbers and undisciplined. The only player with terrific talent, Jimmy Chitwood, played by Maris Valainis, may not even play. Add in the fact that the only assistant coach Dale can scrounge up is town drunk, Shooter Flatch, played by Dennis Hopper, and it looks like the team is doomed to a very forgettable season.

Against all odds, slowly the team begins to come together after the players band together to support their coach and buy into his system. Still, is it enough to beat the more talented teams with more players when the school reaches the state playoffs? The recipe for “Hoosiers” has often been duplicated in the years since its release in 1986 and the plot may seem formulaic at this point. Still, the film ranks as one of the most inspirational sports movies of all time and is well worth it for all members of the family. It also has a terrific and memorable soundtrack.

Ok.com gives says the film is appropriate for kids 10 and up and is rated as 100 percent worth your time.

Hoop Dreams

Millions of high school kids around the United States, and more and more internationally, dream of one day playing in the NBA. “Hoop Dreams” is a documentary that follows two young people with such dreams. The teens, William Gates and Arthur Agee, are African-Americans from crime-riddled inner city Chicago. After being spotted by a scout from a private school in a wealthy suburb outside of Chicago, the players agree to make the long daily commute to attend classes and play for the school because of its reputation for helping players make the NBA.

“Hoop Dreams” follows Gates and Agee in high school and beyond as they chase their dreams. In the process, the documentary takes a frank look at the struggles of so many families across the nation who are languishing in poverty. While there is not an ending that makes Disney producers salivate, the film has terrific uplifting themes of the power of hope and the indomitable nature of the human spirit.

Parents should be warned that “Hoop Dreams” is PG-13 and has honest glimpses of inner city life with drug use and other criminal activity. There is also some strong profanity. Also of note is that the film is nearly three hours long. “Hoop Dreams” can be watched on Netflix.

What is your favorite basketball movie?

Dylan Cannon is a regular Ok.com and KSL.com contributor. He can be reached via email at dylancannon86@gmail.com.

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