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Love & Basketball

Film poster
Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Produced by Andrew Z. Davis
Cynthia Guidry
Spike Lee
Jay Stern
Sam Kitt
Written by Gina Prince-Bythewood
Starring Sanaa Lathan
Omar Epps
Dennis Haysbert
Debbi Morgan
Alfre Woodard
Music by Terence Blanchard
Cinematography Reynaldo Villalobos
Editing by Terilyn A. Shropshire
Studio 40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks
Distributed by New Line Cinema
Release date(s) April 21, 2000 (2000-04-21)
Running time 124 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $20 million[1]
Gross revenue $27,728,118[1]

Love & Basketball is a 2000 American romantic drama film, written and directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. This film stars Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. It is the story of two next-door neighbors in Los Angeles, California who grew up loving basketball and, eventually, each other.



Monica (Sanaa Lathan) and Quincy (Omar Epps) have wanted to be professional basketball stars since they were kids. However, Monica has to work hard to establish herself, while Quincy was born with natural star potential. As the two struggle to reach their goals of playing professionally, they must also deal with their emotions for each other.

The film spans roughly thirteen years of friendship between childhood sweethearts Monica Wright and Quincy McCall. Monica and her family moved to Los Angeles in 1981 from Atlanta, Georgia, and quickly became acquainted with their new neighbors the McCalls, a wealthy family due to the success of Quincy's father Zeke, the star shooting guard for the San Diego Clippers. Quincy and Monica are drawn to each other instantly, sharing a love of the game basketball. Quincy is shocked that a girl could ever love basketball as much as he did, and he is even more shocked when Monica plays so well. He angrily knocks her down during game point, and accidentally cuts her face.

Their mothers intervene and soon, Quincy and Monica have made up. Monica proves tougher than Quincy ever could've imagined in another person, and draws closer to her, asking her to be his girlfriend. Monica accepts and they share their first kiss, but it isn't long before they insult each other and are rolling around on the grass fighting, with Monica clearly winning.

The second quarter of the story begins in 1988, when both Monica and Quincy are the respective leaders of their high school teams. Scouts have taken clear notice of Quincy, who many see as one of the top prospects in the country. He is extremely popular with the other students, could have any girl in school that he wanted to, and dates one of the prettiest girls in school, but is still good friends and neighbors with Monica.

Monica, on the other hand struggles with her fiery emotions on the court, picking up technical fouls at critical moments of games. Her coach would often bench her because of this, which she feared would negatively affect her recruitment to a top college. She also secretly still harbors feelings for Quincy, but struggles to express them as he is always surrounded by other girls.

Through soul searching throughout the season, Monica learns to control her emotions and leads her team to the state championship. However, Monica's team comes up short in the final moments of the game, losing by one point due to a questionable reach in foul called on Monica that lead to the opposing team's game winning free throws. Monica takes the experience extremely hard and blames herself for the loss, even though she had heroically scored her team's final five points.

Over the next few days, she begins to recover from the loss with the help of her older sister Lena, who gives her a makeover and hooks her up with a college friend to take her to her spring dance. With nothing more than a new hair style and a dress, Monica shows up to the spring dance looking as beautiful as ever. While dancing with his date, Quincy notices her immediately, and can't believe his eyes. He walks over to her and compliments her new apprearance but quickly notices her tall, dark and handsome date. Later that night, she speaks with him from outside her window and lets Quincy knows that she dumped her date. She also lets him know that she has a letter from USC and insists on him to open it. After the letter reveals that she has been accepted, he lets her know that he has been accepted too so they congratulate each other with a hug, but Monica mistakes it for a kiss. From there they were kissing until Monica pushes him away and invites him into her room. There, they make love that night for the first time.

The third quarter of the story follows Quincy and Monica to their freshman year at the USC, where it is implied they have been a happy couple for some time. Again, the same problems seem to present themselves, this time on a bigger stage. While Quincy finds instant success on the court, as well as more and more female admirers, Monica struggles for playing time. Not only that, but Monica's coach always seems to single her out in practice, much to her frustration. Her relationship with Quincy becomes more and more strained as Quincy struggles to deal with the media attention surrounding his father and a paternity suit against him from a former lover. Quincy feels betrayed by his father for lying to him and threatens to leave school for the NBA early. When Monica finally earns the starting point guard spot at the end of the season, Quincy can't be happy for her. He blames her for not being there for him when he was having problems with his father. Monica is hurt deeply by Quincy, and the two go their separate ways.

The fourth quarter of the story follows the characters through the early 1990s, a few years before the establishment of the WNBA, Monica's prospects for professional basketball lie exclusively in the IWBA, The International Womens Basketball Association, while Quincy steps into the pros at home. Monica settles into her new life in Barcelona, where she struggles to cope with the everyday grind of playing overseas. She misses home, but can't imagine a life that didn't include basketball. She adapts to her surroundings, and it isn't long until her coach makes her the focal point of the team's offense. She leads her team to a dominant victory in the championship game at the end of the season. Yet despite all her personal success, it seemed as if her life and Quincy's life had finally grown apart.

The story then flashes forward a few years. Having left USC after his freshman season, Quincy is now in his fifth year in the pros, trying to find a role with his new team, the Los Angeles Lakers. He's had a difficult season, but finally finds some playing time when his coach subs him to replace Nick Van Exel. Immediately, Quincy misses a three point shot, but makes up for it on the very next play with a showtime steal-dunk. But just as quickly as it seems he has turned his bad streak around, he suffers a devastating knee injury when he lands awkwardly after the play, tearing his ACL. His family rushes to the hospital to be with him, but his now divorced parents become embroiled in an argument when they see each other. Monica hears about Quincy's injury, and flies home to see him.

At the hospital, Monica meets his fiancée (Tyra Banks)---a flashy and talkative girl who treats Quincy like a child. After her meeting with Quincy, Monica soon realizes that her feelings for him still exist. Over the next few months, Quincy undergoes rehabilitation while the day of his wedding draws closer. By this time, Monica has decided to give up basket ball, when questioned by Quincy she states that it was no longer fun for her, Quincy does not understand, stating he never knew anyone who loved basketball as much as she did. He and Monica meet up once again, this time as friends, and reminisce over their shared past. At this point, Quincy has recovered from his injury, and Monica finally steps up with an ultimatum. She challenges him to one final game on the court- but this time the stakes are higher: if he loses, he calls off the wedding and chooses Monica; if not, he marries someone else. Her reasoning is that the if he loses it would be because he let her win which would mean that deep down he really doesn't want to get married because he still loves her. Quincy agrees and beats her in the game, but can no longer be apart from Monica and chooses her. The phrase "double or nothing" brings a whole new meaning to the game.

The film fast-forwards 2–3 years later in 1998. Monica has finally gone pro in the WNBA, which was created by the NBA in 1996. Quincy finishes school and returns to the NBA, and in the audience is Quincy holding their baby daughter, cheering on Monica as the announcer calls her name during the starting lineups. The name "Wright-McCall" appears to be on the back of Monica's jersey as she joins her team, showing that Monica and Quincy have married. At the end of the movie after the ending credits its shows Monica and Quincy's daughter putting a basketball through her little hoop




Film reviews

Love & Basketball received mixed, but generally favorable reviews for its direction, cast, and storyline. Review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 81% approval rating.[2] On Metacritic, the film scored a 70 metascore—based on 28 reviews.[3] Film critic Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times, says "The film is not as taut as it could have been, but I prefer its emotional perception to the pumped-up sports clichés I was sort of expecting. It's about the pressures of being a star athlete; the whole life, not the game highlights. I'm not sure I quite believe the final shot, though. I think the girl suits up for the sequel." Ebert gave the film three out of four stars.[4]

Film critic Desson Howe, of The Washington Post's Entertainment Guide, writes " 'Love and Basketball' had moments of such tenderness and sophistication, complimented [sic] by such romantic dreaminess between lead performers Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan. First-time filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood's film joins such films as 'The Best Man' and 'The Wood', which look for the class, not the crass, in African American life." Howe gave the film 9.5 stars.[5]

Box office

Love & Basketball was produced on an estimated $15 million budget. In the opening weekend of its release, it was shown on 1,237 screens, and took in $8,139,180, opening at #2 in the North American box office, behind U-571. It would eventually take in a total of $27,459,615 at the box office.[1]

DVD release

Love & Basketball was released on DVD in Region 1 on October 10, 2000 and in Region 2 on July 2, 2002; it was distributed by New Line Home Video.

Awards and nominations

2001 NAACP Image Awards
  • Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture — Sanaa Lathan (Won)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture — Alfre Woodard (Won)
  • Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture — Omar Epps (Won)
  • Outstanding Motion Picture (Won)
2001 Black Reel Awards
2001 Independent Spirit Awards
2001 BET Awards

See also


External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Love & Basketball is a 2000 film about two next-door neighbors in Los Angeles, California who grew up loving basketball and, eventually, each other.

Directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood. Written by Gina Prince-Bythewood.



  • I'm a ball player.
  • It's a trip, you know? When you're a kid, you-you see the life you want, and it never crosses your mind that it's not gonna turn out that way.
  • Last time they (LA Clippers, Quincy's dad's team) won, Dr. J (Juilus Erving) was a nurse.


  • If basketball is all you care about, why you bonin' me? Why don't you bone Dick Vital?
  • All's fair in love and basketball.
  • Double or nothing.


Monica: Talked to your new girlfriend.
Quincy: Look I took the ho to Burger King.
Monica: Huh, cheap date.
Quincy: Well at least she had time for me.
Monica: So you mess around to prove a point.
Quincy: Man what I just say?
Quincy: Man you got yo head so far up yo ass it took a cheap date to even notice me!
Monica: What Q man did I forget to kiss you ass like everybody else?
Quincy: You forgot to be there!
Monica: That night you wanted to talk about your dad I had curfew, what was I supposed to do?
Quincy: Stay.
Monica: If I stayed I wouldn't be startin.
Quincy: Well least you got your priorities straight
Monica: I never ask you to choose!
Quincy: You never have to.
Monica: I'm a ball player, if anybody knows what that means it should be you
Quincy: If basketball is all you care about, why you bonin me, won't you bone Dick Vitale
Monica: Wait a minute. How do I know the next time you're feelin neglected or whatever you're not gonna just run around on me? If we're gonna be together I have to be able to trust you
Quincy: I'm not askin' for us to be together
Monica: What?
Quincy: I'm going through a lot of shit right now, it's obviously more than you got time for.
Monica: How are you gonna tell me what I have time for, I mean whatever I did we can fix this!
Quincy: I don't think so.
Monica: You don't think so.
Quincy: Look I'm into inter-draft
Monica: You what?
Quincy: I'm going pro, I mean who knows where I might end up ya know
Monica: So, so that's it, just forget about you and me
Quincy: I still like for us to be friends.
Monica: Friends.
Quincy: Look I'll see you around.

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