Finding a Space Jam successor to Michael Jordan isn't easy. (Warner Bros. Entertainment/Getty Images)
In a lot of ways the movie Space Jam is a time capsule for the '90s as a whole. Product placement, the merging of animated and live action, random Bill Murray appearances, a giant sports star, nostalgia (Looney Tunes), the apex before the fall of the movie soundtrack, wild colors, aliens, bad jokes and lots of camp. Like most fondly remembered '90s things, it's not quite as good as you thought it was, but there's still enjoyment to be had there. And like most fondly remembered '90s things, someone somewhere has been trying to cash in on our love of fondly remembered '90s things for quite some time. If it hasn't happened yet, it will.
That's why it's no surprise at all that reports came out in late February that Space Jam 2 was actually happening after years and years of people saying maybe we should make a Space Jam 2. LeBron James was slated to star. Everything was going to be great. Those reports were then quickly denied by LeBron's camp. This doesn't mean the project is dead. It could just be someone jumped the gun and contracts need to be signed, money needs to be moved around... whatever.
It's very well possible LeBron James will star in Space Jam 2 in the near distant future. But if he doesn't -- and the movie still needs to get made -- we've got to consider some alternatives. Here is an imagining of how some of these auditions with other NBA stars could go down.
Production Assistant (PA): Okay, Mr. Duncan are you ready to read?
PA: Okay, Tim Duncan screen test, take one.
Duncan: I've flown over the mountains on the wings of dragons. This battle, it has always been waging. It will be fought long after any of us are gone. But history remembers the faithful. It remembers those who deserve to hold a place in the annals of time. You say we can't win. The fear creeping in is a dark smoke threatening to choke the life out of us, replacing the air we breathe. I say we take up arms and make a new legacy! Forget the mystics and the prophecies. If we are the jesters, at least we'll make them laugh as we bury our cold steel in their flesh. This is our world. Grab your swords. Grab your wands. Tighten your belts. For today, well, my friends, today I'll be happy to ride through hell --
PA: Wait, wait, wait. Mr. Duncan, sir, I have to stop you right there. You do know you're reading for Space Jam 2, correct?
Duncan: This isn't the Dungeons and Dragons reboot?
Duncan: I'm terribly sorry. I must have been forwarded the wrong email. Hope you guys find someone who is right for the part. Do you validate parking?
PA: Okay, next.
[Spencer Hawes walks into the room wearing an American flag t-shirt, camo pants and Belleville tactical boots. He gives a curt nod to the production staff seated at the table in front of him. He smiles and waves nervously at the camera man.]
PA: Are you ready?
Hawes: Yes. I hope you don't mind I've made a few additions to the script. I think they're more indicative of the times in which we live.
Hawes: You see, if aliens ever come on our lands, onto U.S. soil, I'm not letting any of them tell me what to do. It is my right as an American citizen to defend myself against a threat to freedom. I don't care if they're cute cuddly colorful little guys or evil bugs, these colors don't run.
PA: This is a kids movie.
Hawes: And our children have a right to learn how our forefathers built this great nation. It's the home of the free, not the home of the coddled and self-entitled. Nobody – especially no space invaders from Moron Mountain – is going to come in here and make us play basketball for "the greater good." I will not see my homeland turned into a socialist haven.
PA: I think we've seen enough. Thanks for coming out. We'll call you.
Hawes: Thanks. God bless.
"YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME!" (Warner Bros. Entertainment/Getty Images)
PA: Okay, Mr. Cousins. We're going to have you simulate the final basketball game: the Monstars vs. the Tune Squad. Think that's okay with you?
Cousins: Of course. Glad I wore my Dr. Scholls [chuckles].
PA: The hoop we've set up is regulation. Obviously you won't be playing against aliens or with Bugs Bunny today. But these are a few of our interns who are happy to stand in. We just need to get a feel for how the action would play out with you on the floor. You've seen Michael Jordan's performance, yes?
Cousins: I sure have. It's been my dream since I was like six to be in this movie.
PA: No problem. Okay, here's you go. [tosses DeMarcus a basketball]
Cousins: Go team!
[Cousins passes the ball to a teammate. He sets a pick. A whistle blows.]
PA Dressed As Ref: FOUL MOVING SCREEN.
[Cousins shakes his head.]
PA Dressed As Ref: Excuse me?
Cousins: I said wait. I didn't know we were calling fouls. I thought we were just playing the game to see how this would work out.
PA Dressed As Ref: I don't want to hear it, Cousins. This isn't an imaginary fairy tale CousinsLand where you can just get everything you want. This is the real world.
Cousins: Are you kidding me right now?
PA Dressed As Ref: TECHNICAL FOUL ON DEMARCUS COUSINS.
Cousins: There are technicals in a fake basketball game? What kind of [expletive deleted] is this?
PA Dressed As Ref: Oh, tough guy, huh? Not another word. Nope. Don't even think about it.
[PA Dressed As Ref makes the signal for a technical foul emphatically and blows his whistle.]
PA Dressed As Ref: You're done. Finished. Proud of yourself? The Tune Squad lost. The aliens won. It's all your fault.
[Cousins puts his head down and walks out of the room silently.]
[A door opens and Pau Gasol comes in smiling carrying a gigantic Trader Joe's bag. Like a size they don't actually give you in the store. Really there is no telling where he got it.]
PA: I thought we said you didn't need to bring anything, just yourself and your sparkling personality, Mr. Gasol.
Gasol: No, no, I understand. I just was out shopping earlier and I wanted to give you all something.
PA: That's really not necessary.
Gasol: I love Space Jam. I love shopping. I love you guys. Don't worry. Gifts are great. Every day is a gift.
[Gasol takes out 10 carefully wrapped gift baskets each filled with fruit, cheese, crackers, meats, a Milan Kundera book, various gift cards and a brand-new PS4.]
PA: How did all of those fit in that bag?
Gasol: You have to believe. Anything is possible as long as you smile a lot.
[Gasol goes through the act of handing the gift baskets to every person in the film crew seated at the table. He knows all of their names even though he has never met them before.]
Gasol: Okay have a great day! Good luck casting for Space Jam 2!
PA: You're not auditioning?
Gasol: Nope, nope. I just wanted to make sure you all knew you were appreciated. This is such a hard process. Making a movie! What a treat for everyone! You deserved something special. Take care.
[Gasol has disappeared.]
PA: Next up is Kendrick Perkins. Someone send in Mr. Perkins, please.
[Perkins is ushered into the conference room.]
PA: Kendrick, do you mind if we call you Kendrick? Are you ready?
PA: I'll take that as a yes. Tom here is going to be reading the part of Swackhammer. We still haven't sorted the script out fully yet, so a lot of this is similar to the original. I hope that's okay.
PA: Alright, Tom. After you.
Tom: You'll be our star attraction. You'll sign autographs all day long. And play one-on-one with the paying customers. And lose. Do we have a deal?
PA: Okay great. Thanks, Mr. Perkins. That was, umm, really great.
Perkins: Thanks for giving me the opportunity. I hope you'll consider me for the part.
Bosh: Hey, you guys, I have a bit of a problem with this script.
PA: Well it is still in development. Keep that in mind. And I'm sure if you're selected as our lead there will be some wiggle room. We can't really tailor this until we know who our main actor is going to be, then we'll have more of a feel for backstory and so on and so forth.
Bosh: No, no, no. It's not that. I'm talking about the science of the film.
Bosh: You see, none of this is plausible. This is a film where we're expected to believe aliens from another planet are coming and they're landing and they want to take the Looney Tunes, who live in 2D land -- there is no 2D land, even in string theory the strings connect us in just one dimension -- and cartoons while clever and adorable can't just live amongst non-cartoons. Either we all are cartoons, which is possible in one of the many dimensions and galaxies operating all at once, or none of us are cartoons. It just doesn't make sense.
PA: I'm sorry, I don't believe I follow.
Bosh: It's a matter of consistency. It won't work. Websites will bust every bit of falsehood about this movie open from the second we go into production. I have a commitment to truth and scientific fact or at least a reasonably thought-out hypothesis.
PA: You did watch cartoons growing up, didn't you?
Bosh: Of course. I loved cartoons. I still love cartoons.
PA: And you're saying you can't suspend your disbelief for the sake of entertainment?
Bosh: Well, I guess I never thought about it that way.
PA: So you're saying you'll give it a shot?
I really can't. You guys probably want LeBron anyway.