When Michael Jordan was at the top of his game in the NBA, no one was bigger. He was everywhere: TV, commercials and even the movies. In 1996, Jordan starred in Space Jam, a blockbuster family comedy where he was recruited by the Looney Tunes to help them beat a bunch of bad guys in a basketball game. It blended live action, animation and featured cameos from dozens of prominent NBA players as well as stars like Bill Murray and Wayne Knight.
These days, the closest thing we have to Michael Jordan is the two-time reigning NBA Champion Lebron James. He’s just started to dip his toes into films and now he’s lining up his own battle with the Looney Tunes. This isn’t a joke, the sons of legendary sportscaster Dick Ebersol have just come onboard to develop a sequel to Space Jam as a starring vehicle for James. Willie Ebersol will write the screenplay and his brother, Charlie Ebersol, will produce.
Update: After Deadline published its story, Brian Windhorst at ESPN reported that reps for James denied that any project is in development. A film could still be in development at Warner Bros., but not with James. James also commented.
Deadline first reported the news. There’s no timeline on the film, just an initial reveal that it’s in development. However, it will follow the same basic structure of the original, meaning James will help the Looney Tunes in some basketball related problem. Or maybe vice versa. We’ll have to wait and see. But expect lots of current NBA stars to be in the mix.
Two years ago, James expressed interest in this idea on Twitter, which was probably the beginning of this idea.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2012
The first Space Jam still holds a special place in the hearts of kids who grew up with it. Jordan wasn’t exactly a master at playing himself, but the tone of the film, the animation, action and the incredible music – most notably R. Kelly’s I Believe I Can Fly – helped send the film to well over $200 million.
A sequel to Space Jam makes as much sense as a remake to RoboCop or something like that. Let’s see how it plays out.
UPDATE: James said the following to the Miami Sun Herald:
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It’s news to me. I haven’t heard anything about it. Like I said, I’ve always loved Space Jam. It was one of my favorite movies growing up. If I have the opportunity, it will be great. But that’s news to me. Obviously, I don’t want to be on there with this thing on my nose. We’ll see what happens.