Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Stars: Sanaa Lathan, Omar Epps, Alfre Woodard, Dennis Haysbert, Debbi Morgan, Harry J. Lenix, Kyle Pratt, Boris Kodjoe, Tyra Banks, Regina Hall, Gabrielle Union, Monca Calhoun
Sticking to its basketball theme, Love And Basketball is split into four quarters and unfolds like a game. During the first quarter, young Quincy McCall (Omar Epps) and Monica Wright (Sanaa Lathan) meet when the latter relocates to Los Angeles during the early 1980s. Their antagonistic relationship quickly becomes a friendship due to their mutual love for the sport, but their careers are on divergent paths. Quincy, the son of a former NBA player, becomes a highly-touted college prospect in high school. Monica, meanwhile, struggles to gain attention as her emotions often get the best of her on the court, scaring college scouts away.
On prom night, they finally act on their suppressed feelings for one another, leading to a relationship at USC. Once again, Quincy has success from the beginning, while Monica continues to fight for respect and playing time. However, the thin-skinned Quincy is unable to deal with his parents’ dissolving marriage and takes his frustration out on Monica, ending their relationship and prematurely declaring for the NBA draft. During the film's final quarter, Quincy and Monica have gone their separate ways, but are forced to confront their feelings for each other one final time.
Quincy and Monica are both driven by their love for each other, as well as their love of, yes, basketball. They both take the same approach to love as they do to the game, playing freely and with reckless abandon. It's worth noting that life changes for them at the end of the third quarter: Quincy, who's had it relatively easy his whole life, is the one who struggles in the fourth quarter, as Monica becomes the star. It's Quincy's difficulties since their breakup that eventually force him to realize that he needs her.
Though some moments venture into cheesy territory, Love And Basketball is a layered love story that runs the emotional gamut.