The Best Basketball Documentaries of 2020

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Are you looking for documentaries on your favorite basketball players? Are you wondering what the best basketball documentaries are of all time? Look no further! 

Basketball documentaries provide basketball players and watchers insight into not just some of the best basketball players of all time, but their journeys to get where they are. These documentaries also provide a behind the scenes look at what it takes to be successful in the game of basketball. Therefore, it’s no wonder why you are here looking for the recommended basketball documentaries.

With this in mind, you will find several of the most recommended basketball documentaries. We will also provide you with information on things like the greatest basketball players, the best basketball documentaries on Netflix, and so much more. We will even give you information on how to choose the best documentary for you.

All you have to do is keep reading to find some reliable options for an excellent weekend of binging. These documentaries will have you glued to your couch. 

If you want to get back to playing basketball, get our top pick for the best basketball documentary here.

Our Top Favorite
Iverson
Our Top Runner Up
Soul in the Hole [Import anglais]
Our Top Value Pick
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
Basketball Documentary
Iverson
Soul in the Hole
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The NY Knicks
Prime Eligible?
-
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Iverson
Basketball Documentary
Iverson
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Soul in the Hole [Import anglais]
Basketball Documentary
Soul in the Hole
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
Basketball Documentary
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The NY Knicks
Prime Eligible?
-

Our Favorites for the Best Basketball Documentaries Our Favorites for the Best Basketball Documentaries

Iverson

Iverson the Movie was initially released in 2014 about Allen Iverson. It covers more than just his days in the NBA but also his early life. It gave viewers a closer look into his life and was directed by Zatella Beatty. Many viewers consider this to be one of the best basketball documentaries. 

What Makes it Unique:

  • The documentary covers Allen Iverson’s life beginning from his impoverished childhood in Hampton, VA.  
  • The documentary sheds light on the famous press conference, which left the world, thinking that AI was a braided-up thug who didn’t have any interest in basketball fundamentals. Instead, the director brings to light the storm that was brewing outside of basketball and the determination for the game he had. 
  • The documentary paints the real story of Allen Iverson's life through the use of archived interviews and video footage.  
  • The documentary brings light to the sad reality that young black men face every day, especially coming from harsh environments. 

Why Choose This Best Basketball Documentary:

  • This isn’t a Cinderella story. There isn’t an overly happy ending, just the story of one NBA baller's life.
  • During this video, Iverson also touches on issues with abandonment and how his father’s jail sentence has affected his life.
Iverson
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Allen Iverson, Dwayne Wade, Carmelo Anthony (Actors)
  • Zatella Beatty (Director) - Ted Faye (Producer)

Hoop Dreams

Hoop Dreams is another one of the most recommended basketball documentaries. This highly rated documentary was released in 1994. It gives viewers a glimpse into the lives of William Gates and Arthur Agee, two boys from Chicago’s inner city, who dream of NBA fame. The film has won a Peabody and a MORE award. 

What Makes it Unique:

  • This documentary follows two NBA hopefuls through high school and the beginnings of college. The film focuses heavily on the prospect of having a dream so big and reality so harsh. 
  • Filmmakers spent multiple years with the boy’s family as well as recording over 200 hours of film. The boys are highly uneducated; however, their family’s goal is getting them to fulfill the hoop dream.
  • The film brings to light the unfairness of society and how hard students must fight back to combat society’s perception of them. 

Why Choose This Best Basketball Documentary:

  • The boys present social issues that are often present in African American communities. This includes a single mother and even an incarcerated parent.
  • The documentary also provides a glimpse into the contrast, which happens when one individual decides to take the influence of their environment, and one does not.   It also shows the animosity that comes with being an inner-city black youth.
  • Some watchers referred to this documentary as presenting the American Dream and the American nightmare, simultaneously.  However, the film provides a look at how the educational system is set up for athletes. This is most certainly a must-watch documentary for hoop enthusiasts.  
Hoop Dreams
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Arthur Agee, William Gates (Actors)
  • Steve James (Director)

Our Runner Ups for the Best Basketball Documentaries Our Runner Ups for the Best Basketball Documentaries

Soul in the Hole

Soul in the Hole is a New York basketball documentary that tells the story of Kenny Jones. Kenny Jones is a coach of the Kenny Kings basketball team. Soul in the Hole was initially released internationally in the summer of 1997. This is a highly acclaimed basketball documentary directed by Danielle Gardner. 

What Makes it Unique: 

  • This documentary takes place in Brooklyn, New York, following a part-time basketball coach and his relationship with his basketball team.  This team was a group of teenage street ballplayers.
  • Kenny Kings are some of the best street basketball players around; however, they are also the most economically disadvantaged hailing from Bedford Stuyvesant. Kenny Jones is particularly close to one of his players, Ed “Booger” Smith, and we see this relationship played out within the film.
  • The personalities of the players and Coach Kenny shine through making this not only an informational documentary but an entertaining one as well. 

Why Choose This Best Basketball Documentary:

  • This documentary aims to answer the question: Can basketball prepare an individual for life?  The boys are heroes in their neighborhoods, but there is a big world outside of Brooklyn. 
  • This documentary is often compared to the previously mentioned documentary, Hoop Dreams.  Both documentaries depict the lives of inner-city you in major cities who are fighting for their lives on and off the court.
  • This film looks at the culture of Brooklyn as a character in the story rather than as merely the setting of the boys’ lives.  The culture of the city has a significant effect on the players and the work that they can do. 

Our Value Picks for the Best Basketball Documentaries Our Value Picks for the Best Basketball Documentaries

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The NY Knicks

Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The NY Knicks is one of ESPN’s 30 for 30 films. The film gets its name from Reggie Miller’s persona known as the “Garden’s Greatest Villain” and the Indiana Pacer’s rivalry with the New York Knicks. This documentary captures the intensity of this rivalry through an abundance of video clips, interviews, and so much more. Dan Klores directed this documentary. 

What Makes it Unique: 

  • During the ’90s, the Indiana Pacers had a continuous rivalry with the New York Knicks. Reggie Miller's constant trash talk whenever he hit the court didn’t make things any better. Reggie Miller has been called a con man, mister potato head, and several other not so nice names. However, one thing about Reggie is that he can back up his trash talk. 
  • From the start of Reggie’s career, he has something to prove from his beginnings as a child even to the NBA draft.  

Why Choose This Best Basketball Documentary:

  • This documentary shows the determination of one player and his will to keep raising his game each time he stepped into Madison Square Garden.   
  • This documentary is the story of basketball.  This includes egos, fans, humor, and so much more.  You will even get to see footage from Reggie’s most talked-about game.  This game is game 5 of the 1994 Eastern Conference Finals. This game showcases the intensity and personality of basketball.  
  • If you’re looking to see some of the most intense moments in basketball history, this is the perfect documentary for you. 
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Reggie Miller, Spike Lee, John Starks (Actors)
  • Dan Klores (Director) - ESPN (Producer)

FAQ on Basketball Documentaries

Who are Some of the Greatest Players in Basketball History?

When you think about the best basketball players, what players come to your mind? Depending on who you ask, the players on their list may change. However, some basketball staples tend to make the greatest player list every time. These are players who show tremendous skill on and off the court. One common attribute between these players is that they often eat, sleep, and breathe basketball. These players include the following:

Michael Jordan

This is one player that needs no introductions. He spent his career playing for the Bulls and the Wizards. He is not only an accomplished basketball player but has an extremely popular gym shoe. 

Kobe Bryant

The late Kobe Bryant has always proved to be a phenomenal player on and off the court. Kobe’s career span 20 seasons, and all were played with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was drafted in 1996 and is set to be inducted into the NBA Hall of fame in 2020. 

Larry Bird

You can’t have a list of the best basketball players and not mention Larry Bird. He is a seasoned NBA veteran who had a basketball career spanning 1979 to 1992. After retiring from basketball, he began coaching the Indiana Pacers and was inducted into the NBA Hall of Fame in 1998. His coaching career lasted until about 2000.

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt is rumored to be one of the greatest players in basketball history. He was initially drafted into the NBA in 1959 after spending a year with the Harlem Globetrotters. Throughout his years with the league, he broke several records, some of which he still holds today.

What is the Best Michael Jordan Documentary?

Being that Michael Jordan is a phenomenal basketball player or staple in the basketball world, it’s only right that there are several documentaries made about him. Michael Jordan has made several advances in his career, including playing 15 seasons of basketball, winning 5 MVP awards, and even playing in 14 All-Star Games. He was also inducted into the basketball hall of fame in 2009. Since being drafted in 1984, Michael Jordan has made a strong impact in the basketball community. This has led to numerous documentaries being created about him. These are some of the best documentaries.

30 for 30: Jordan Rides the Bus

This is ESPN special goes into aspects of Jordan’s life we may have previously not had access to. It portrays Jordan’s presence in the NBA, his retirement, his plunge into baseball, and also more personal tribulations. This even includes his father’s death. 

30 for 30 Season 1
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)

Michael Jordan’s Playground

This documentary examines Michael Jordan’s early life and his overall love for basketball. This documentary was made in 1990 and allowed you to see things through Michael Jordan’s eyes. 

Michael Jordan's Playground
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Jordan (Actor)
  • Zack Snyder (Director) - Not Available (Writer) - Michael Antinoro (Producer)

Michael Jordan Come Fly With Me

This was the first film created on Michael Jordan’s career. It takes a look at young Jordan from the beginning of his career and onward.

Micheal Jordan: Come Fly with Me
  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Michael Jordan (Actor)
  • Don Sperling (Director) - Not Available (Writer) - David Gavant (Producer)

What Basketball Movies are on Netflix?

Netflix is a popular streaming service for finding the best tv shows and movies. Therefore, it is only right that you would go to Netflix to find the top options for basketball documentaries. The following are all of the best basketball documentaries on Netflix. 

The Carter Effect

This documentary is all about Vince Carter. He played for the Toronto Raptors and is an 8-time NBA All-star. The documentary looks to showcase Carter’s impact on basketball while in Canada. 

Q Ball

This is one type of documentary that you wouldn’t expect to see about basketball. It gives viewers a glimpse into the importance of basketball for the inmates at San Quentin prison. The game provides a bit of freedom for otherwise caged inmates. 

Basketball or Nothing

Basketball or Nothing is about the teens of the Navajo nation at Chinle High School. These kids find solace in basketball and hope to bring pride to their community by bringing home a championship. 

Rucker50

You can’t mention basketball without mentioning Rucker Park. This is a staple in New York basketball, and this film celebrates 50 years of the Harlem Sports program. The directors use a plethora of interview footage and old videos to give the viewers perspective of the basketball legacy. 

How to Choose the Best Basketball Documentaries for You

Choosing a documentary can be hard. There are so many documentaries to choose from, and therefore you must find a documentary that works for you. Though we have provided you with an abundance of information, we must teach you how to know which documentaries will have precisely what you need. 

Before you just start watching videos and wasting time, we will provide you with some tips about how to choose the best items for you. 

What’s the Purpose of the Documentary?

When choosing a documentary, you should have a clear vision of what your purpose is. Are you watching this documentary for leisure purposes? Are you looking for historical references? Are you looking to find motivation? All of these are essential questions to ask yourself when choosing a documentary. 

What’s the Subject of the Documentary?

The subject of your documentary is also essential. You will find that the best basketball documentaries on Netflix don’t all have the same topic. These subjects may include high school athletes, seasoned veterans, or everything in between. 

What’s the Accessibility of the Basketball Documentary?

Your accessibility to the basketball documentary that you choose is vital. This documentary may be available online, via a streaming service or strictly on DVD. You will need to ask yourself what format you are looking for this film to be in. This will be a great help in narrowing down the options available to you. 

What Considerations Should You Make on Documentary Length?

Although this isn’t a traditional characteristic you would look for, the length is important. If you only have an hour to spare, you would not want a documentary that spans two to three hours. 

These are a few characteristics you can make sure to assess when you are picking out the perfect documentary to watch at home, watch with your team, or potentially even watch in your classroom. 

Wrapping Things Up: The Best Basketball Documentaries

We’ve gone over a lot today. Here’s a helpful table to consolidate every basketball documentaries we went over:

Our Top Favorite
Iverson
Our Top Runner Up
Soul in the Hole [Import anglais]
Our Top Value Pick
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
Basketball Documentary
Iverson
Soul in the Hole
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The NY Knicks
Prime Eligible?
-
-
-
Our Top Favorite
Iverson
Basketball Documentary
Iverson
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Runner Up
Soul in the Hole [Import anglais]
Basketball Documentary
Soul in the Hole
Prime Eligible?
-
Our Top Value Pick
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The New York Knicks
Basketball Documentary
Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The NY Knicks
Prime Eligible?
-

An excellent documentary will do more than entertain you; it will also inspire and motivate you. The documentaries on this list will do just that. This list is filled with the best and most recommended basketball documentaries. They will not only present harsh realities on and off the court; they will entertain and amaze you.

Soul in the Hole is one documentary basketball documentary that many basketball enthusiasts love. This story follows the lives of Kenny Jones, a part-time basketball player, and his street basketball team, Kenny Kings. The documentary provides a glaring look into the reality behind inner-city youth basketball. 

Another excellent and highly recommended basketball documentary is Winning Time: Reggie Miller vs. The NY Knicks. This film explains the rivalry between the New York Knicks and Indiana Pacers player, Reggie Miller. This film also brings to light egos, which basketball can create.

Overall, there are several great options on this list for basketball documentaries and listed throughout this document. All of these will give you a glimpse into the basketball world, and several players struggle outside of it. If you haven’t found anything on this list to love, that’s okay. We have given you some excellent tips to choose your own the next time you need something new to watch alone or with your team. 

Did you find this interesting? Then you may also enjoy our other basketball gear reviews here.

Hoops Addict
Hoops Addict

Hoops Addict was created to help basketball fans of all ages learn more about the sport and find the best basketball gear to improve their ability to hoop. He has been a huge basketball fan for decades, watching thousands of basketball games through the years to learn the ins and outs of the game.

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