Film: Love and Basketball
Love and Basketball
is a 2000 romantic drama movie starring Omar Epps and Sanaa Lathan
and distributed by New Line Cinema.
Quincy McCall (played by Epps) and Monica Wright (Lathan) have been next-door neighbors and Vitriolic Best Buds
since childhood, with both sharing a great love for basketball and aspiring to become stars in the NBA leagues. The film chronicles their intertwining lives over a decade, as they grow from childhood to high school, then move on to college and finally chase their respective dreams. Along the way, they both must cope with individual trials, disappointments, and their ever-present attraction toward each other both on and off the court.
The film was a modest box-office success, making a gross revenue of $27.7 million from a $20 million budget. It did, however, win critical approval for its dramatic story.
For those who haven't seen it yet, spoilers will be marked.
Tropes present in Love and Basketball:
- Absurdly High-Stakes Game:
Monica: I'll play you.
Monica: One game, one on one.
Quincy: For what?
Monica: Your heart.
- Action Girl: Monica would rather play basketball than be feminine. It's a source of conflict between her and her mother.
- All-Star Cast: Omar Epps, Sanaa Lathan, Alfre Woodard (Monica's mom) Dennis Haysbert (Quincy's father) with cameos by Gabrielle Union and Tyra Banks.
- Babies Ever After
- Belligerent Sexual Tension: Quincy and Monica in the first half of the film.
- Broken Pedestal: Quincy's father. Quincy believes in Mr. McCall in spite of the scandalous rumors of the older man having an extramarital affair...and then it turns out the rumors are true.
- The Casanova: Quincy develops this reputation during high school and college, much to Monica's distaste.
Monica: But then again, I guess you'll stick your thing in anything.
Quincy: I didn't know you cared so much.
- Character Development: Monica undergoes it twice, first to overcome her hot temper, and then to combat her cocky attitude on the court.
- Coming-of-Age Story
- Cool Big Sis: Lena, Monica's older sister.
- Dawson Casting: From high school senior year to the end of the movie, Quincy and Monica remain relatively the same in physical appearance. At the time of the movie's release, Omar Epps (who played Quincy) was 27, while Saana Lathan (who played Monica) was 29.
- Determinator: Monica.
- Fighting Your Friend: The combat takes the form of a basketball game.
- Germans Love David Hasselhoff: In-universe example when Monica plays and lives in Spain and meets Sidra there, who is playing for an Italian team. She talks about how they are treated like stars in Europe, whereas in the U.S. they are nobodies.
- Good People Have Good Sex
- Girl Next Door: Monica.
- Graceful Loser: Monica learns to become this
- Invincible Hero: Quincy is naturally talented at basketball, so much so that recruiters are actively seeking him out while he's in high school. It's subverted later in the movie when he injures himself on the court.
- Happily Married: Played straight with Monica's parents. Subverted with Quincy's parents.
- Hard Work Hardly Works: Monica's aim is to subvert this trope, especially in contrast to Quincy's Invincible Hero status. She's eventually successful.
- Heroic BSOD: Quincy undergoes one when he discovers his father's infidelity.
- Kiss-Kiss-Slap: Early in the movie, when the two are children.
- Ironic Echo: Early in the movie, when Quincy's studying, he exclaims in frustration that he can't get it. Cue this exchange:
Mr. McCall: Boy, what did I tell you about using that word?
Quincy: "Can't" should never be in a man's vocabulary.
- Then later, after Quincy finds out his dad's an adulterer:
Quincy: Well, since we're being so honest... I'd figured that I'd tell you that I decided to drop out of school and turn pro.
Mr. Mc Call: Oh, boy. Damn it. Look man, I know you're mad at me. Okay? But I cannot let you do this.
Quincy: I always thought that "can't" wasn't in a man's vocabulary.
- Jerk Ass: Coach Davis comes across this way. Turns out she's a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
- Precision F-Strike
- The Resenter: Sidra, Monica's college basketball teammate, is this toward Monica due to the latter's showing off on the court despite being a freshman.
- The Rival: Sidra, again. By the last quarter of the movie, it's become more of a friendly nature.
- Serious Business: Basketball is this for both main characters.
- Shipper on Deck: Monica's mother ships her daughter with Quincy.
- Shirtless Scene: Omar Epps gets a couple. Mr. Fanservice for the female viewers.
- Scars Are Forever: The scar Monica got from her first meeting with Quincy fades gradually over time, but it's still present.
- Spirited Competitor: Both Monica and Quincy.
- Stage Dad: Quincy's father.
- Their First Time: Monica loses her virginity to Quincy following the high school prom.
- Time Skip: The film is split into four parts, called quarters (1st quarter, 2nd quarter, etc.) after the basketball time segments. The first quarter covers Quincy and Monica in their childhood; then the second quarter skips to their high school days; then the third quarter covers their first few years of college; The fourth and final quarter showcases their post-college years, when both are involved in professional basketball.
- Title Drop: Done by Quincy during the climactic one-on-one basketball game between himself and Monica.
Quincy: All's fair in love and basketball, right?
- Tomboy and Girly Girl: Monica and her sister Lena, respectively.
- Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Monica Wright is a WNBA player; she and her team won the 2011 championship.
- Name's the Same, actually. The real Monica Wright went to Virginia from 2005-2009 and plays for Minnesota; some LA fans would like to Defictionalize Wright being a Spark, though.
- Victorious Childhood Friend
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Quincy and Monica, for most of their lives.
- Well Done Daughter Girl: Monica's mother. All Monica wanted was for her mother to approve of her playing basketball, but Mrs. Wright always felt Monica was too tomboyish. Then late into the film, we get this:
Mrs. Wright: (talking about her own sacrificed dreams) My family had three meals a day. They had somebody to pick up after them...and when my daughters went to a dance...I could help them get ready. That is what I came to care about.
Monica: That's all you cared about. I must have played in a thousand games...and I can only remember you being at two.
Mrs. Wright: You had your coaches and your daddy for that stuff. It never mattered to you whether I was at them games.
- What the Hell, Hero?: A subdued version—Quincy chides Monica for confessing that she loves him when his wedding is only two weeks away. Turns out he reciprocates.
- Would Hit a Girl: Quincy pushes Monica to the ground in a rage during their first childhood basketball game, inadvertently scarring her face in the process. The very next day, after she insults his father's basketball team, they end up fighting on the grass. Of course, as Quincy grows older, he gets the requisite Character Development.
- Your Cheating Heart: Quincy's father's infidelity hits him hard.