Film adaptation of street tough Jim Carroll's epistle about his kaleidoscopic free fall into the harrowing world of drug addiction. As a member of a seemingly unbeatable high school basketball squad, Jim's life centers around the basketball court and the court becomes a metaphor for the world in his mind. A best friend who is dying of leukemia, a coach ("Swifty") who takes unacceptable liberties with the boys on his team, teenage sexual angst, and an unhealthy appetite for heroin -- all of these begin to encroach on young Jim's dream of becoming a basketball star. Soon, the dark streets of New York become a refuge from his mother's mounting concern for her son. He can't go home and his only escape from the reality of the streets is heroin for which he steals, robs and prostitutes himself. Only with the help of Reggie, an older neighborhood friend with whom Jim "picked up a game" now and then, is he able to begin the long journey back to sanity.
Mark Fleetwood <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The true story of the death of innocence and the birth of an artist
See more »
Motion Picture Rating
Rated R for graphic depiction of drug addiction with related strong violence,sexuality and language
See all certifications »
Did You Know?
After being nominated for an Oscar for Running on Empty
(1988), MTV asked River Phoenix
what he wanted to do next. He responded by pulling out a beat up paperback of "The Basketball Diaries" and stated "I wanted to play Jim Carroll." Later, the Los Angeles Times declared, "River Phoenix may have wanted it too much." Leonardo DiCaprio
was a fan of Phoenix. See more
When Mickey is reading from Jim's diary at the basketball court, the position of the diary/pages changes from flat to folded between cuts. See more
You gotta have presence on the court. Presence like a cheetah rather than a chimp. Sure, they both got it, but Chimpy gotta jump his nuts around to get it. The shy cheetah moves with total nonchalance, stickin' it to them in his sexy, slow strut. Me? I play like a cheetah.
This film was passed uncut with an 18 rating in the UK in 2000. It was previously cut by 47 seconds by the distributor. The cuts were to the dream sequence where kids are shot in school, which was removed by the distributor in response to the Dunblane massacre. See more
Referenced in The Butterfly Effect
Written by Tyler Willman, Robert Martin, Steve Ross, Daniel Kempthorne, Mariann Braden
Performed by Green Apple Quick Step
Courtesy of The Medicine Label See more