With all due respect to Hoop Dreams, White Men Can’t Jump, Blue Chips, Love & Basketball,
Hoosiers and He Got Game, the greatest basketball movie of all-time is Above The Rim. This is not up for debate, mostly because this is my opinion and I’m always right. The reality is, I’ve watched Above The Rim too many times to count and I’ve formulated opinions about the movie that cannot be disputed.
There’s no question that Tupac put on an Oscar-worthy performance in his role as Birdie.
There’s no question that Above The Rim is one of the greatest soundtracks of all-time.
There’s no question that even I could dunk on those 8-foot rims during the game footage.
My best guess is that I’ve watched the film 438 times. I know everything there is to know about the movie. Here are a few tidbits off the time of my head:
- Wood Harris’ role as Motaw is arguably one of the more underrated antagonists in antagonist history. Also, Wood is not his real first name, it is Sherwin David Harris. I’m pretty sure Harris doesn’t get the role of Avon Barksdale in The Wire unless he plays Motaw and changed his name to Wood.
- The additions of NYC playground legends Pee Wee Kirkland (the Georgetown scout) and Speedy Williams (#41 on the Demons) was genius.
- Thomas Shepherd balled out in corduroys bruh. Corduroys.
However, while watching this film for the 438th time, I noticed something that I’d never noticed before. During the final game between the Bombers and the Birdmen, Birdie’s (Tupac) squad was running amok on Kyle Lee Watson’s Bombers like the 1988 Detroit Pistons. Before Thomas Shepherd could come in and save the day in his legendary corduroys, I stumbled across the greatest basketball play of all-time. Let’s watch the glory together.
Let’s reflect on this wizardry.
- Kyle Lee Watson throws a terribly errant alley-oop pass which is intercepted by #52 of the Birdmen with one-hand.
- With the same hand, #52 throws a one-handed baseball pass the full length of the court to…
- #52 of the Birdmen.
- #52 of the Birdmen then pulls off a one-handed 360-degree dunk, then celebrates like Marty Jannety from The Rockers.
Look, I understand what some of you might be thinking. This is a poorly edited film. (Which, if you wanted to make the case that this movie can’t be the best basketball movie of all-time, I can hear your argument. However, I’ll never agree with you.) Yes, this was a poor edit, however, I prefer to live in a world where suspending all belief in reality can happening when watching basketball movies.
In conclusion, a big shoutout to director Jeff Pollack, New Line Cinema, and most importantly, #52 of the Birdmen. You’re the real MVP bruh, because you gave the world the greatest basketball play of all-time. Salute.
Eddie Maisonet is the founder and editor emeritus of The Sports Fan Journal. Currently, he serves as an associate editor for ESPN.com. He is an unabashed Russell Westbrook and Barry Switzer apologist, owns over 100 fitteds and snapbacks, and lives by Reggie Jackson’s famous quote, “I am the straw that stirs the drink.”