By Zack Peñalva, Sports Editor
Next weekend will mark the 19th anniversary of the release of one of the greatest sports movies of all time: Hoosi– excuse me, Space Jam. I’m not here to argue whether or not Space Jam was a classic (it was), but part of what made it so great was that it featured some of the era’s biggest names (and Wayne Knight). But now, nearly 20 years after its original release, how do we make Space Jam relevant again? The answer is obvious: a reboot.
The Looney Tunes are timeless. Bugs and the rest of the squad haven’t changed at all in the past 19 years and they are integral to the whole plot, so we don’t have to worry about them at all. As for the rest of the cast though, we need a complete overhaul. So let’s get to work.
Possible Candidates: Blake Griffin, James Harden, Chris Paul, Kristap Porzingis and Nick Young
All the original aliens can stay, but they’ll need to change who they pull their talent and looks from. For choosing our candidates, you need to think about what’s important. Actual positions are pretty negligible. What’s more important is that each of the Monstars will take some bits of their appearance from their hosts, so there needs to be some defining characteristics in each of them. Anthony Davis has the unibrow. James Harden has the beard. Porzingis is tall and lank. Nick” Swaggy P” Young has the flattop and general “Swaggy-ness.” As an added bonus, money can be saved during production by reusing some of Jurassic World’s CGI dinosaurs in Chris Bosh’s rendering.
Possible Candidates: Kevin Hart and Bill Murray
Bill Murray’s role in the original Space Jam was pretty much him being himself. In that same vein, Kevin Hart is my front-runner. Murray did the role so well because he really didn’t have to act much. His replacement would have to be someone that’s equally as comfortable in his own skin. Hart’s at his best when he plays himself so he would be a good. I could also buy into him having the same high aspirations of playing in the NBA as Murray did, while being just as unqualified.
Possible candidates: LeBron James, Kobe Bryant and Steph Curry
When Space Jam was released, Michael Jordan was the greatest player alive. He was entirely dominant and the Tune Squad needed someone that could put the team on his back. For the reboot, there is only one real answer to who this could be, but let’s entertain some other options as well.
First up is Kobe Bryant. Were this movie being made about five years ago, he would be a more serious contender for the top spot but seeing as how he’s nearly 40, he’s lost his spot on the top of the pedestal. The biggest problem with making Kobe the star though, is actually expecting him to let the rest of the Tune Squad on the court. If Porky Pig was standing in the paint wide open stuttering out “p-p-p-pass me the rock,” you can’t tell me Kobe would take more than one look before launching up his 80th shot of the game. As good as he is, Kobe’s not the player the Tune Squad need.
We can look at last year’s MVP Steph Curry for our leading man, but it’s clear that he doesn’t have what it takes either. Steph’s shooting is unreal, but if he’s just trying to drain shots, the Monstars will eat him alive. Thanks to Marvin the Martian’s loose grip on the rules of basketball, Steph would get flattened in the game’s opening minutes. If he did happen to get a shot off it would get stuffed right back in his face by one of the ~10-foot tall aliens defending him. The main thing Steph has going for him is that his daughter Riley (the MVP of NBA children) could play herself.
LeBron is the only option. He’s physical enough to go toe-to-toe with the Monstars and can score in a variety of ways. The Tune Squad would be an upgrade from the Cavaliers team he carried into the finals last year and he would have an easier time coaxing a top performance out of Bugs and Lola than he would out of his real-life teammates.