SpringHill Entertainment officially announced the release date for Space Jam 2 featuring LeBron James. The movie is slated to release in theaters on July 16, 2021—25 years after the release of the original 1996 film that starred Michael Jordan.
With James starring and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler producing, expect this to be a star-studded affair. While we wait for official co-stars to leak, The Crossover staff picked potential sidekicks and Monstars for LeBron and Bugs Bunny.
Rohan Nadkarni - 2016 Warriors Death Lineup
Okay, a lot of people are going to pick really bad co-stars for this movie because they don’t understand the conceit of Space Jam. In this cinematic universe, the bad guys are stealing the talent of NBA players to create a basketball superteam. So the real question becomes, which players, as the Monstar version of themselves, would you like to see James battle against to help save the Looney Tunes? (This assumes the plot of Space Jam 2 is more or less the same as the first one, which I’m going to go ahead and say is a fair assumption because I don’t know how else you do this movie.) Anyway, the obvious answer becomes the 2016 Golden State Warriors’s Death Lineup. Allow me to explain why.
It’s 2019 and LeBron’s Lakers are already running on fumes. Things could get even more bleak in LA this summer if the front office strikes out on Anthony Davis and the best free agents. So by 2021, when this movie comes out, James’s best bet to entice moviegoers will be to capitalize on nostalgia.
Imagine this plot: A new generation of aliens want revenge on the Looney Tunes, perhaps the children of the villainous Mr. Swackhammer. This time, the Tunes can’t recruit M.J., who is actually retired. (We already have our first comedic scene of the film when Michael Jordan has to convince Bugs Bunny he really doesn’t play basketball anymore.) Jordan gives the Tunes his blessing to recruit LeBron, who is down on his luck trying to carry Austin Rivers and Otto Porter to the playoffs. James, invigorated by a new challenge, accepts the offer to defeat the Sons of Swackhammer. However, the aliens have discreetly made a partnership with the 2016 Warriors, who for some reason still feel the need to avenge their bitter loss to James in the 2016 Finals. (Did you know Golden State blew a 3–1 lead?) So to win back the hearts of basketball fans, James will have to recreate the biggest accomplishment of his career, only this time he won’t have Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love, he’ll have Lola and Bugs. And the Warriors will be transformed into alien monsters.
(The only other answer that works here is James going up against a team of his former teammates/buddies/free-agent targets. D-Wade, KD, AD, Kyrie, etc. But I worry that subject matter could get too heavy for a children’s movie.)
I will only ask for a producer credit. You’re welcome, LeBron and Mav.
Jarrel Harris – Team Nike
Since we are in the age of having everything branded, I expect this to be an all-Nike affair. Stephen Curry and Joel Embiid? Nope, they are both signed to Under Armour. Klay Thompson? Nope, he is signed to Anta. James Harden and Damian Lillard are both adidas athletes. Let’s cross out Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant who are both huge swoosh endorsers but I doubt they will make an appearance in a LeBron-led film. So who are the potential actors?
Muggsy Bogues role: Isaiah Thomas who has basically begged to take this role.
Charles Barkley role: Draymond Green who is reportedly signing with Klutch.
Larry Johnson role: Zion Williamson who could potentially sign with Nike.
Patrick Ewing role: Anthony Davis finally gets to team with LeBron.
Shawn Bradley role: Boban will be in John Wick 3, so he will be polished for this role.
I also expect Kevin Hart and Michael B. Jordan to make appearances due to their Nike ties and Jordan’s relationship with Coogler.
DeAntae Prince - Anthony Davis
Davis has to be involved in Space Jam 2 for a long list of reasons. Let’s start with the fact that his entire build is cartoonish. He has the absurd height, the long arms, the unified brow standing at attention. There’s also Davis’s trade demand and heel turn, which make him the quintessential Monstar. The narrative now matches the physical being. Pairing that stature with a newly revealed gang-up mentality gives Davis all the qualities necessary to play for a team hell-bent on world domination and global destruction.
And we haven’t even gotten to Davis’s superpowers on the basketball court, which are plenty. They are ripe for the stealing now that he’s playing only 20 minutes per night and barely using all of the tools that made him a star. Davis can move, score and defend with long arms that might have been capable of blocking Jordan’s legendary dunk in the original Space Jam. If I had my way, Monstar Blanko would return with Davis’s power and a penchant for revenge.
Jake Fischer - Joel Embiid
We need to have Embiid in this movie. The essence of the players who lose their powers to the Monstars, is slumping in the bleachers at the gym, unsure of how they tumbled to the depths of the basketball talent spectrum. To adequately fill this roll, one must boast an incredible ability to self deprecate. There is no better comedian actively playing in the NBA who fits that mold better than Embiid. Imagine the big man sulking about no longer being able to dominate Andre Drummond and Hassan Whiteside. Picture Embiid also having the self-awareness to roast his fellow superstars who have improbably been sapped of their demigod talents. There is no better combination of basketball talent and humor than is wrapped into the 7'2" All-Star. Give me Embiid in Space Jam 2, or give me nothing.
Michael Shapiro - Giannis Antetokounmpo
There’s no better fit in cinema right now than Giannis leading the Monstars. Antetokounmpo’s extendo arms and mammoth strides would provide a perfect foil to LeBron James and his squad of plucky underdogs in Space Jam 2, with the Greek Freak posterizing whoever stands in his way. Watching Giannis snarl past Daffy Duck would be a delight. Seeing him sprint ahead of the Road Runner would be even better.
Giannis has added to his marketing potential this season, most notably appearing next to James in the All-Star Draft. Antetokounmpo flexed his comedy muscles with a few tampering jokes, then poked fun at Shaq over the “Superman” nickname. Giannis should have an MVP within the next few years (perhaps winning his first in June), and he could become the league’s most marketable force as we turn to the next decade. A Space Jam 2 appearance will only heighten Giannis’ fame and Q Score. He’s is a perfect Monstar, and should get the chance to face James on the Silver Screen in 2021.
Matt Dollinger – Bronny
The perfect sidekick to LeBron in Space Jam 2? His son! Lil’ Bow Wow is 31 years old—Like Mike ain’t walking through that door. But why not cast a kid for a kids’ movie? Bronny already has a crazy following at 14 years old—this movie could catapult him to the next level—and give him plenty of career options should he decide to one day move away from the hardwood. I’d rather watch LeBron and LeBron Jr. tackle the Monstars than any other potential combination. He already lives in LA, so you don’t have to worry about travel. And if any other NBA player gets cast in the movie all of NBA Twitter is going to over-examine the tea leaves and try and decide if that co-star is going to the Lakers. I can’t deal with that. I’m tired. Anthony Davis has worn me out. Do the right thing and cast Bronny!