(If you think that title was long, thank Ed for not running the original title, "If It's Not Your Favorite Movie, then DIE...hahahahaha!!!" Wow...)
When I hear of great basketball movies, the ones that always come up are He Got Game, Hoosiers, and White Men Can’t Jump, just to name a few. Hell, some people even have the nerve to say Space Jam is an all-time great basketball movie, and while I worship damn near anything Jordan, even I don’t believe it belongs amongst great hoop films. Anyway, all of those are good movies, don’t get me wrong, but there is one that will always reign supreme, and it’s none other than the 1994 CLASSIC, Above The Rim.
I won’t spend time telling you what the movie is about, because it’s one I like to think every basketball fan has seen. If not, put it on your list of must-see movies before you kick the bucket. First off, take a look at the collection of raw talent in this movie. The fact that no one role makes or breaks the movie is beyond phenomenal. Before everyone got to know Wood Harris as Avon Barksdale, basketball heads knew him as Motaw, the hot-headed, right-hand man to Birdie, played by The G.O.A.T., known as Tupac Shakur (yes, I refer to him as the G.O.A.T. , but that’s a discussion for another day). There was also Leon, who most people may know as David Ruffin, and while I’m not mad at cha for doing so, he’ll always be Thomas Shepherd in my eyes, always. There was also the downright hilarious Flip, played by Bernie Mac (may he rest in peace), and Bugaloo, played by a super-young Marlon Wayans. Even Pee Wee Kirkland has a role in here as a scout for Georgetown, which happens to be my team, so that adds to the greatness of the film. Of course, you’ve got Duane Martin, who plays the role of Kyle Lee Watson to a T.
This is a movie I can recite frontwards, backwards, sideways, upside down, eyes closed, you name it. I’ve probably seen it 5,000 times, and still watch it at least once a month, and sometimes more, depending on my mood. The basketball scenes were nonstop, and the storyline flowed perfectly. Birdie was a cool balance of a dude you wanted to root for, but also someone you knew was foul, and had to get his sooner or later. The same can be said for Thomas Shepherd, and even with his foolishness, you still wanted to see some kind of happy ending for him, especially with the way the movie begins. There were times you would cheer on Kyle Watson, and there were times you wanted to curse him out for being so selfish and stupid. The fact this movie is able to bring out a mixture of emotions is yet another reason it is indeed the greatest. On top of that, the soundtrack is SICK. It is literally unbelievably, unfairly good. Do yourself a favor and add that one to your CD collection as well; it’s definitely worth it.