Above The Rim Turns 20 Years Old Today

In life, we have things that are near and dear to our heart. It can be a favorite song, shoe and, in this case, a movie. There are a lot of movies I love, but there is only one that is my undisputed favorite movie of all-time, in any genre. That movie is none other than Above the Rim.

Some people will look at that and remark that Above the Rim isn’t even the best basketball movie of all-time, let alone a top-ten. They’ll argue me down and say Hoosiers, He Got Game, White Men Can’t Jump, Blue Chips, Love and Basketball and others are better, so how can it be my favorite? Well, the response is simple. Because it’s my opinion, and I love the movie. My favorite rapper ever (Tupac Shakur), along with one of the best actor/hoopers ever (Duane Martin), along with my favorite college basketball program EVER are all merged in one movie? What beats that??

“All this time, people been telling me Thomas Shepherd's so fucking raw. Too bad he started trippin' when his friend died. Got all that talent and no heart.”
“Georgetown? I don’t think so.”
“He’s playing ball without a ball!”
“I had 22 points and 8 rebounds!”
"You gotta be soldiers, alright?!?! Soldiers! Not clowns, gotdammit! Now drive! And you, you shut the fuck up."
“Shepherd? Thomas Shepherd? Man, I thought you were dead, man!”
“You hear that, Nutso? The boy here says he owes me….HE OWES ME! Are we even? Are we even?”

Those lines are merely the ones off the top of my head and either preceded, or led to, other pivotal moments in the movie. On top of that, the soundtrack to this movie was bananas. Part-Time Lover, Anything, Regulate, Afro Puffs, Pump Pump, Pour out A Little Liquor and much more. Whether it was the former playing in the background of the club when Birdie extended Kyle an invite to join the Birdmen for The Shootout, or the latter playing in the background when Bugaloo shot Birdie in the chest at the end of the movie, there was a song accompanying pivotal aspects of the movie the entire time.

Another thing about this movie is Duane Martin, who played Kyle Watson, could actually hoop. I mean, the dude could GO, and it helped make the movie even more authentic. Plus, if you’re a 30-something like me who was 11 years old when the movie came out, it was fun watching him and Montrose, played by MTV’s Eric Nies, going at it on the court from jump.

Kyle juggled the pressures of being a high school star, along with trying to find his own way as a man, along with trying his damndest to get Georgetown and John Thompson to offer him a scholarship. To see him sink a jumper at the end of the movie to get the Hoyas a Big East championship was pretty damn dope. It would be awesome to see a movie like this now, but I don’t know if there are enough viable candidates to make it even close to working.

Of course, I’d be remiss not to mention two key figures in the movie, Tupac Shakur and Bernie Mac, and their contributions to this being my favorite movie of all-time. People tend to reference Juice as the ‘Pac staple and Kings of Comedy as Mac’s, but these two had great chemistry in the movie and it was especially evident when Flip pulled Birdie’s card and told Kyle that to ask Birdie himself about Thomas Shepherd since it was Birdie’s brother. Of course, anyone who saw the movie knows what happened to Flip after that.

Money, greed, passion, family, laughs, last-second thrills, loyalty. All of these are a staple of a movie that caught my attention as a seventh-grader at Calhoun Middle School and continues to live on as my absolute favorite movie of all-time.

(Psssst.....if you haven't actually watched the entire move, well....here it is below. Don't tell anyone you got it from us.)

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