In one tweet, LeBron James has confirmed that Space Jam 2 is officially in production. Throughout his career, LeBron has been compared to Michael Jordan at every level of achievement. I for one don’t think the two should be compared at all. Rather, they should be praised for their impact on the NBA and pop culture in their respective era’s.
There would be no LeBron James billion dollar deal with Nike without Michael Jordan. MJ set the standard for what it means to be a modern day pop cultural phenomenon who transcends his sport. At the same time, Black athletes wouldn’t be taking ownership of their influence and negotiating on their terms if LeBron James never entered the picture. He laid the blueprint on leveraging performance to essentially make teams negotiate on his terms. What we have now is an NBA full of superstars who decide where they’ll play, for how long, and for how much instead of owners making those decisions for them.
Again, both MJ and LBJ should be respected individually for what they’ve brought to the world of sports. LeBron’s transition into Hollywood juggernaut is complimented by successful attempts at documentaries and television shows in partnership with Netflix, HBO, and Showtime. Now, he’s taking a crack at what could be his most difficult project yet in Space Jam 2. If you’re a 90’s baby you know how incredibly popular Space Jam was. You had the greatest basketball player of all time joining forces with the most classic cartoon characters of all time to create a blockbuster smash. The film opened at No. 1 in the North American box office and grossed over $230 million worldwide, becoming the highest-grossing basketball film of all time.
LeBron has taken on a seemingly insurmountable challenge in trying to one-up Jordan with a reboot. Rumor has it, he’s had difficulty getting other NBA stars to join forces with him in the movie. Likely because unlike in the 90’s, other NBA stars aren’t looking to son themselves by playing second fiddle to LeBron James in a movie that would boast him as the greatest in the sport. That doesn’t mean that the film doesn’t stand to be successful, because it has a unique value proposition in its ability to reach three audiences at once.
First, the film will undoubtedly reach fans who are young children. Secondly, there are fans who grew up watching LeBron. Thirdly, there are 90s kids who may be interested in a nostalgic experience stemming from their love of the original Space Jam. We might even see LeBron get creative and involve superstar athletes from other sports instead of just basketball. In which case, he’d pull in fans from the larger athletic community as a whole. Not much information has been released about Space Jam 2. Actors poised to co-star along LeBron are still in negotiation, and the film isn’t scheduled for release for another two years. Meanwhile we wait, anxious to see how King James plans to pull off the impossible. If his career is any evidence, he’s more than capable of doing just that.