Above The Rim, 1994

Duane Martin plays Kyle Lee Watson an inner-city high school basketball star that gets lured to played with Birdie’s team, played by Tupac Shakur, in the shootout – an inner city tournament where the the stakes can be high. The game starts off with Kyle playing a basketball game at high-school and Birdie’s crew turns up to watch. Kyle’s team lose arguably due to him not passing (or a foul as Kyle professes), in the locker room he gets a bit of a grilling but shakes it off all good. As he’s leaving he bumps into an old mate who’s now hanging with birdie’s crew, and they go off to meet Birdie. At Birdie’s club he’s introduced to the ladies and Birdie asks him if he wants to play on his team. Impressed by the money and girls he’s tempted to play for Birdies team, but his coach is wanting him to play for his team… He has to decide whether to play for the darkside or not so to speak.

Kyle’s mum starts to fall in love with Shep – the guard at Kyle’s college, and so some tension starts to build between Kyle and Shep. Shep used to play basketball when he was younger but with his friends death he’s decided to not play anymore. The film’s essentially focused around Kyle’s struggle with whether to play for his coaches team in the shootout or to play for Birdie’s with the money, girls and danger that’s associated with the underworld. Kyle’s coach also wants Shep to play on the team for the shootout, further putting the stresses on Kyle’s mind. We learn as the film progresses that Shep is Birdie’s older brother…

A good 98mins of entertainment, arguably one of the best basketball films made. Here’s the original trailer from 1994:

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