So, it would seem that the long-rumored Space Jam sequel starring LeBron James is finally happening. Of course, once this started making news sports talk radio, most notably Mike & Mike, started speculating on which NBA players would be joining King James’ team in this film.
Now, the approach the Mikes, who I have enjoy greatly, took is the obvious one of matching the player in the original to a modern-day equivalent as best they could.
Two things I realized made this approach ineffective: firstly, only the most notable players were mentioned in their debate.
Here were the non-Jordan players in Space Jam; firstly, those credited:
Some lesser caliber players were also credited:
Then there are a few who were uncredited:
If you have any familiarity with basketball you’ll most likely note that some of these names were more relevant in 1996 than they are now and have faded into obscurity. Now you can’t exactly cast hoping to be timeless only hoping to make it as relevant as possible to the audience you’re appealing to. However, it seems to me, even bearing in mind the league in 1996 that some bigger names could’ve been found.
Furthermore, the fact that LeBron is a player of a new age, and is more gregarious with opposing players than Jordan was could make casting easier. That and the proliferation of media and advertising could bring many more recognizable names into a film this time around. Here are my ideas:
Firstly, I think some of the funniest ads around now featuring athletes are the State Farm ones most notably the Hoopers. That’s a nucleus of actor/athletes right there, droppin’ dimes!
Not only do they already work together in a popular campaign but DeAndre Jordan playing the sitcom mom of the bunch is a good link to Larry Johnson’s Grandmama persona, which is hard to fill.
That makes five players. The original included 20 players, but I will explain why I think half that number is suitable for this film.
Kobe Bryant’s recent ad with Michael B. Jordan make him a strong contender. The original film didn’t have retired or about to be retired players but in this day and age I feel players stay in the public eye a bit longer so it makes sense to do.
Some players whom LeBron has shown a bond with in his career could also join the cast so add Dwyane Wade and Carmelo Anthony.
Not just trying to match one European-born player for another I suggest Kristaps Porzingis mostly due to his FIFA-loss reaction.
Maybe being the 21st century it’s an opportunity to give Crying Knicks Fan a cameo, and while we’re on Internet sensations, can we possibly include Crying Jordan memes?
In fitting with the soon-to-explode NBA salary cap, clearly this sequel will have more big name talent and require Warner Brothers to shell out more for the basketball talent involved. However, one issue Warner Brothers needs to address from the first film is giving the Looney Tunes more to do, especially the characters introduced in Space Jam and not re-incorporated since.
Therefore, cutting the number of basketball stars will allow that focus to be more on LeBron and his animated cohorts, especially the ones that existed prior to Space Jam who WB has done little if anything to keep relevant within the past 20 years. I was not, and am not, a big Space Jam fan. However, anything that can help Bugs and co. attempt a comeback would be most welcome at this point.