Buddy cop movies are a staple of Hollywood for the last 40 years. Ever since Eddie Murphy teamed up with Nick Nolte in 48 Hours in 1982 there have been hundreds of takes on the buddy cop dynamic. Lethal Weapon, Die Hard, Bad Boys, and even Zootopia (yes Disney got in on the buddy cop game) are some of the most beloved and commercially successful movies of all-time. The key to a great buddy cop duo is that they have to be wildly different personalities. The old curmudgeon paired with the young, slightly insane wildcard (Danny Glover and Mel Gibson), or the action hero alongside the average donut eating family-man (Bruce Willis and Reginald VelJohnson), or the playboy and the wisecracking sidekick (Will Smith and Martin Lawrence). Much like an NBA team, a buddy cop film is only as good as it’s leads. This exercise isn’t just about identifying the two best players on each team and trying to pigeon hole them into a role, but finding the best pair of teammates that would drive an exciting, thoughtful, and most importantly funny cop movie with as wild a plot as possible. Also there’s no copaganda going on here or in the NBA so this list will feature a whole lot of bad cops or at least cops who are bad at their jobs (Mo Bamba).
Atlanta Hawks: John Collins and Trae Young
These two allegedly don’t get along very well, which is a perfect buddy cop movie trope. Trae wants to control the squad but John thinks it is harmful to his image as a “hero cop”. The two figure out their differences and we all find out that it was actually their captain who was the problem the whole time.
Movie title: Young Guns
Boston Celtics: Tacko Fall and Robert Williams
This is my favorite buddy cop movie pairing the NBA has to offer and is the reason why I even wrote this damn thing. This would basically be the movie The Other Guys with Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg except Ferrell is 7’5″ and Wahlberg’s nickname is the Time Lord. Tacko and the Time Lord run around Boston solving crimes across time hanging out with the like of Paul Revere, Samuel Adams, and Ted Williams while trying to prove that they are indeed good timecops.
Movie title: Tacko and the Time Lord
Brooklyn Nets: James Harden and Blake Griffin
An indie movie adapted from a play that takes place entirely inside a strip club. Two undercover cops stake out the strip club to find out who kidnapped Kyrie Irving for his birthday? Harden goes full Serpico and is downing day-old strip club hot dogs left and right while Blake Griffin reveals the whole thing was a prank on some online pranksters (I don’t care if that’s already a show he’s hosting).
Movie title: Snake and Blake
Charlotte Hornets: LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward
LaMelo is the young hotshot while Hayward the grizzled vet who don’t get along at first, but then bond after they both go through traumatic ankle injuries.
Movie title: Ankle Breakers
Chicago Bulls: Zach LaVine and Coby White
We all know the Bulls are back, but how did they get back? A story of redemption as we follow two young misfits and their incredible journey to finally breakout and be the most mediocre cops they can be.
Movie title: BAB: Bulls Are Back
Cleveland Cavaliers: Collin Sexton and Darius Garland
A simple tale of two hotshot ’70s disco/sex cops who sex it up in…Cleveland, Ohio. At least they have a bangin’ theme song.
Movie title: Sexland
Dallas Mavericks: Luka Doncic and Boban Marjanovic
A gritty European noir film sees Luka and Boban infiltrate a Eastern European drug cartel and find out there is indeed trouble in the Balkans! Little does Luka know his beloved partner Bobi is actually his assassin character from John Wick 3 and is working for our Balkan kingpin. Oh baby but then the real twist is Luka is John Wicks long lost son, Luka DonWick, and he goes full Keanu on everyone’s asses.
Movie title: Luka DonWick
Denver Nuggets: Bol Bol and Facundo Campazzo
Bol Bol is 7’2″ and Facundo is 5’10”. This movie writes itself. It’s Twins but they’re cops.
Movie title: Twin Cops
Detroit Pistons: Killian Hayes and Sekou Doumbouya
What if the French Connection took place in Detroit? The two young frenchmen have not played well at all for the Pistons, but hey was Popeye Doyle actually a good cop?
Movie title: The French Connection 2: Motor City Madness
Golden State Warriors: Draymond Green and James Wiseman
Just two hours of Draymond yelling at Wiseman until Wiseman breaks bad and leaves Draymond for dead with a gang of players the Warriors beat for their three championships led by LeBron James in a reverse Training Day situation.
Movie title: The Wise Man
Houston Rockets: Kenyon Martin Jr. and Kevin Porter Jr.
Both of their dads were (somewhat) controversial cops and now they’re on the force to restore the family name. The problem is, they’re assholes too (kind of).
Movie title: Jr. Force
Indiana Pacers: Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner
They’re the poster boys for being an good not great cop. They don’t kill any unarmed people which is nice but they also don’t prevent or solve any actual crimes.
Movie title: The Poster Boys
Los Angeles Clippers: Lou Williams and Patrick Beverly
How many of these can take place in a strip club? This one has it all: Strippers, suspensions, playoff collapses, and a whole lot of chicken wings.
Movie title: Magic City
Los Angeles Lakers: LeBron James and Kyle Kuzma
A legendary cop who is seen as a hero across the country teams up with some douche with bleached blonde hair and somehow dates instagram models even though he kind of sucks. LeBron eventually tires of Kuzma’s antics and being terrible and decides to team up with cartoon characters instead, tough beat for Kuz.
Movie title: Space Jam 3
Memphis Grizzlies: Ja Morant and Jaren Jackson Jr.
Two guys with a lot of J’s in their name (and on the court).
Movie title: J Squad
Miami Heat: Jimmy Butler and Tyler Herro
Very similar to the Lakers pairing of LeBron and Kuzma. In this movie Butler is the veteran cop, perhaps a war hero that works hard but rubs people the wrong way. He’s paired with Herro the young instagram influencer who has a rap song named after him. They team up Miami Vice style to take down Pat Riley’s and his criminal organization only to find out that Riley is just a pawn and it goes all the way to the top of the NBA…Adam Silver!
Movie title: Working Hard and Being the Man
Milwaukee Bucks: Giannis and Thanasis Antetokounmpo
Bad boys but it’s in Greece and the boys are actually pretty nice and they help a lot of people and are generally happy about their lives. Another bangin’ theme song.
Movie title: Nice Greek Boys
Minnesota Timberwolves: Anthony Edwards and Ricky Rubio
It’s like Point Break but if Keanu and Swayze stayed friends the whole time. Edwards is the hotshot athletic FBI agent while Rubio the care-free hippie surfer who may or may not still rob banks, but this time Edwards is just kind of ok with it and they go sky diving together to strengthen their friendship instead of trying to throw Edwards out of a plane without a parachute. Glen Taylor is Gary Busey, not in this movie, just in real life.
Movie title: Point Break 2: Friends Forever
New Orleans Pelicans: Zion Williamson and Lonzo Ball
Two of the best young cops in the city have to take down Lonzo’s dad when they find out he built and empire on making counterfeit shoes.
Movie title: Big Baller Boys
New York Knicks: Julius Randle and Derrick Rose
In the vein of Die Hard with a Vengeance, Randle and Rose team up and run around NYC to stop evil James Dolan from destroying the Knicks.
Movie title: Die Hard and Ban Dolan
Oklahoma City Thunder: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort
As two of the best Canadian NBA players, Shai and Dort are called back to the motherland when all of the Mounties vanish leaving Niagara Falls unprotected. Shai and Dort save Canada from tourists in a climax that sees Dort defending Canada by flailing his hands in everyone’s face to distract them while Shai sends them over the falls in a giant barrel.
Movie title: Canadian Thunder
Orlando Magic: Markelle Fultz and Mo Bamba
Two once heralded cops are down on their luck after flunking out of the police academy. Can they regain their respect and restore order in a backwards southern town?
Movie title: Bamba Number 5
Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
The whole premise revolves around a young up and coming cop who refuses to shoot, ever (Ben Simmons, Obviously). His partner (Embiid) is kind of an asshole and always getting them into trouble, but Simmons has his own way of dealing with bad guys. Instead of shooting them he gets really into Kung-Fu and kicks the shit out of the rest of the league.
Movie title: The Process Kicks Ass
Phoenix Suns: Chris Paul and Devin Booker
One cop is on his last chance to really make a difference why the other is on his way to superstardom. Can they figure out their chemistry issues before the evil Lakers take over and destroy them before they can figure out how to bring peace to Phoenix for the first time in more than a decade?
Movie title: Phoenix Rising
Portland Trail Blazers: Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum
The exact opposite of the 76ers, Dame and CJ just spend two hours shooting everyone and everything in their line of sight. It’s really problematic, probably funded by Ted Cruz.
Movie title: The Second Amendment
Sacramento Kings: Hassan Whiteside and Marvin Bagley III
Two of the most overrated cops on the force just won’t stop complaining about their jobs so much that their dads have to step in and complain about their jobs some more. Probably not going to make a lot of money.
Movie title: Daddy’s Boys
San Antonio Spurs: DeMar DeRozan and Patty Mills
Not much to say about it, pretty boring but gets the job done. Basically the Other Guys but instead of Will Ferrell and Mark Wahlberg it’s like Josh Duhamel and Beck Bennett.
Movie title: The Normal Guys
Toronto Raptors: Fred VanVleet and OG Anunoby
A new age Homes and Watson terrorize Toronto in search of Serge Ibaka’s scarves that he left behind. No Dunks’ podcasters J.E. Skeets and Tas Melas help out along the way until they find their arch nemesis: No Dunks producer Jason (J.D.) Doyle, who is discovered to be a descendant of Sir. Arthur Conan Doyle, the creator of Sherlock Holmes. J.D. sends Fred and OG a cease and desist letter to stop using the Sherlock Holmes trademark and drags them into an endless court case that for whatever reason the two Raptors don’t give up immediately. They eventually agree to call themselves Tango and Cash so J.D. leaves them alone and all is right with the world.
Movie title: Tango and Cash
Utah Jazz: Rudy Gobert and Joe Ingles
Basically Lethal Weapon if Murtaugh was more of a dick and French (same thing) and Riggs was actually a helpful cop who makes the squad better. They have to discover what or who actually started the COVID pandemic and was it an inside job?
Movie title: Lethal Weapon 5?: Global Outbreak
Washington Wizards: Russell Westbrook and Robin Lopez
Somebody is beating the shit out of mascots all across the city. Two cops have 72 hours to find the criminal before he assaults again. But what happens when Russell Westbrook finds out that his partner is the key suspect in this horrifying case?
Movie title: The Silence of the Mascots