“Space Jam” turns 20 this year, and considering that it’s what originally turned me on to basketball, I wanted to address it in some way.
It doesn’t officially turn a full two decades old until November 15th, but I really couldn’t wait any longer to celebrate this milestone.
Rumors have been swirling about a sequel for the past few years now, with nothing too concrete. LeBron James would assumably be in the staring role, considering that he’s the preeminent star of the league right now (and not a bad actor).
It got me to thinking: what would the narrative of a “Space Jam” sequel entail?
I’m assuming that Moron Mountain is facing financial difficulties again. Mr. Swackhammer is no longer affiliated with the amusement park (remember he was sent into space on a rocket at the end of the first movie by a suddenly self-aware Monstar group; he’s most likely dead at this point or continuing to fly through the outer edges of space for eternity).
The former Monstars have returned to their diminutive existence as Nerdlucks, running the amusement park after their failed attempt to prove looney enough to stay in Looney Toon Land.
Moron Mountain is run a little more democratically than under the authoritarian grip of Swackhammer, but they struggle with the same maintenance problems and consumer malaise that have long plagued the theme park, and motivated the original attempted kidnapping of the Loony Toons to boost attendance. They hatch a plan to try to kidnap them again, thinking that after two decades of relative peace an attack would catch them by surprise.
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In his ever-present arrogance, Bugs Bunny challenges them to a rematch once face-to-face with these tiny intruders, with the same stakes as before.
Enter LeBron James; he’s the global ambassador for basketball, but his image has taken a hit in recent years due to his tone-def departure from Cleveland and subsequent self-serving return years later after chasing rings in Miami.
The same way Michael Jordan’s baseball sabbatical serves as the backdrop for the original “Space Jam,” James’ tumultuous relationship with fans around the league will serve as the real-life drama he has to confront as well as helping the Loony Toons defeat the Monstars.
The Nerdlucks utilize the same strategy as last time, infiltrating NBA arenas in an overcoat and morphing into pink lightning (that I think is invisible to the naked eye, but never fully addressed in the original movie) to steal the talent of current NBA stars.
This time, however, they’re smarter about it. They realize now that just because a player is 7’6 doesn’t mean he’s good (Don Nelson made the same mistake with the aforementioned Shawn Bradley, so it’s understandable). They do their due diligence by reading scouting reports and crunching the numbers, deciding to steal the talents of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Kawhi Leonard, Anthony Davis, and DeMarcus Cousins.
Every so often the movie will cut to show this group of forlorn superstars doing humorous things to try to figure out what happened to them and fix the problem. They’ll be put on the inactive list as the league carries on its regular season without them (and without James, who will have clearly gone missing, but nobody will seem too worried about where he is for some reason).
Curry can earnestly seek advice from his daughter Riley, Davis can try shaving his unibrow as he cries in front of a mirror, Cousins can take an anger management session, Thompson can be working on his shot in his private gym that has a gigantic picture of his head at center court, and Leonard can decide to take a job as an NBA sideline reporter for TNT and have awkward conversations with his former coach Gregg Popovich. The possibilities are endless.
The Monstars’ victory looks inevitable against the Loony Toons’ comparatively weak roster, and like before, Bugs Bunny admits that they’re going to need a little bit of help.
The Loony Toons decide to recruit James this go-around. James is playing golf with his buddies Jerry Seinfeld, Michael Jordan (wink-wink) and his bumbling personal assistant/publicist played by contemporary fat comedian Bobby Moynihan, who’ll spend the rest of the movie trying eagerly to please Mr. James at every turn in uncouth ways that Hollywood seems to think are only capable by fat people.
James gets sucked down a golf hole (afterwards Jordan can look at the camera and say something like ‘this seems familiar’) and proceeds to help the Loony Toons once again beat the Monstars in a competitive game where freedom is on the line. In the process, James somehow learns that he made a mistake leaving Cleveland in the way he did and vows to be less of an egomaniac for the rest of his career.
Seinfeld can even show up to assist James in the big game, and maybe sprinkle in some of his observational humor along the way (“why isn’t basketball called ‘netball?’”).
This may sound like a blatant remake of the first movie, but it’s a winning formula. A new generation of kids can be introduced to basketball in an accessible way, and be entertained in the process. People of my age can surely relate to loving this movie as a child and still enjoying repeat viewing (although I’ve only recently noticed how terrible of an actor Jordan is).
If a sequel for “Space Jam” does get approved, I’m hoping that Warner Bros. will use some of my ideas. If any high-ranking officials at WB are reading this, all I ask for is a modest executive-producer credit for my efforts.