Above the Rim


Above the Rim (1994)


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Movie Info

A young aspiring professional basketball player must make some tough decisions in this sports melodrama. Kyle Lee is a talented basketball player in high school. While he waits to find out if he will receive a scholarship to Georgetown he finds himself in a difficult dilemma over a playground basketball tournament. He must decide whether to follow his good-hearted coach or Birdie, the local gangster. Kyle is also feeling resentment for the security guard his mother is falling for. The coach also wants the guard to play, but due to the tragic death of a friend, the guard cannot bear the thought of playing again.

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Duane Martin
as Kyle-Lee
as Shep
David Bailey
as Rollins
Eric Nies
as Montrose
Cinnamon Paige
as Young Woman
Debra Rubins
as Hostess
Robert Harvey
as Official
as Referee
Darien Berry
as Younger Player
Lakeesha E. Allen
as Monarch Cheerleader
Sherrese Clark
as Monarch Cheerleader
Annie Charles
as Monarch Cheerleader
Aspen Davis
as Monarch Cheerleader
Charlene Levi
as Monarch Cheerleader
Tameeka McKinney
as Monarch Cheerleader
Dannell G. Ruiz
as Monarch Cheerleader
Leslie Terrero
as Monarch Cheerleader
Kenneth Bantun
as Basketball Player
Howard Bond
as Basketball Player
Troy Bowers
as Basketball Player
Roger Brooks
as Basketball Player
Dorian Graham
as Basketball Player
Marion Jenkins
as Basketball Player
Gil K. Kimble Jr.
as Basketball Player
Shabar Lassen
as Basketball Player
Troy Trusdale
as Basketball Player
Tracey Walston
as Basketball Player
Sam Worthen
as Basketball Player
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Critic Reviews for Above the Rim

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (8)

A fine cast and the movie's general energy can't overcome that mix of cliches and technical flaws.

Mar 25, 2008
Top Critic

A formula script, but a mobile camera, pulsing rap soundtrack and a game cast whip up the necessary fizz.

Jun 24, 2006 | Full Review…
Time Out
Top Critic

Above the Rim has its formulaic elements, but it has been vigorously directed by Jeff Pollack, who appreciates the lively and unpretentious aspects of the story.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3/5

It's Shakur who steals the show. The rapper's offscreen legal problems are well known, but there's no denying his power as an actor.

May 12, 2001

A stultifying cliche of a movie -- even by sports-flick standards -- this basketball allegory doesn't get anywhere near the rim.

Jan 1, 2000 | Full Review…

The movie lives easily on the streets where it is shot, and the performances -- especially by Martin, Shakur and Pinkins -- are convincing.

Jan 1, 2000 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Above the Rim

Very cliched and dated gangster/basketball flick set in NY as a young black teen tries to get a basketball scholarship whilst battling against a local thug and his former basketball star brother who is now a security guard at their high school. Everyone in this film is a walking cliche. Shakur is yet another gangster (he couldn't do anything else...useless), Wayans is annoying and camp as usual, Duane Martin is the annoying loud mouth cocky star player and Leon is the quiet dark horse and probably the best thing in the film. Basically you have all the usual gangster nonsense with all the hilariously bad street clothes worn by Shakur and co. Lots of foul language dodgy deals guns drugs and various adults trying to get these dumb asses to grow up and get a life. Looking back now this movie does seem extremely predictable cheesy and stereotypical, hell the movie is virtually racially profiling these guys from the outset. Thing is back in the day these movies were popular and deemed fresh gritty realistic stories from the hood, showing the middle/rich classes life on the street and how blacks youths were badly treated. To me these movies only tended to damage minority groups, giving young blacks a bad reputation. Sure its only a movie but there were so many like this back in the 90's and most revolved around crime drugs and shootings. But hey that's just my thoughts, maybe I'm a bit out of touch too. The only decent thing in the whole film is the small segments of basketball and the competition at the finale which does show some good genuine skills. Only at the end does this movie really come alive...and it reminded me a little of 'White Men Can't Jump' minus the goofy comedy.

Phil Hubbs
Phil Hubbs

Super Reviewer

The Hardest Part Of Winning Is Choosing Sides. Saw it again! One of the best basketball movies you will ever see. The story is superb and the basketball moves are spot on, no fakes here, this is as real as it is. Great cast and the acting was very strong and realistic. Story of Kyle-Lee Watson, a promising high school basketball star, and his relationships with Birdie, a powerful drug dealer, and Birdie's brother, Thomas 'Shep' Sheppard, himself once a promising high school star at Kyle's school, now employed as a security guard.

Manu Gino
Manu Gino

Super Reviewer


too ghetto, but i actually find tupac to be a fantastic actor

danny d
danny d

Super Reviewer

Should be a certified classic... The underworld view of the street ball pick-up /high school games...play or be played!

Fascade Fiveoneeight
Fascade Fiveoneeight

Super Reviewer

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