Dream Team: Do you meet the new guest to Space Jam2?
LeBron James has been evading questions about his most enthralling and top-secret moment for years. But now he's totally exposed.
"It's one of the best games I've ever played in, if not the biggest game," he says. "The Goon Squad is undoubtedly the greatest basketball team ever assembled.
Who is James?
James, 36, is speaking after a decisive win in which he scored 27 points, grabbed 10 rebounds, and dished out 10 assists. No disrespect to the Denver Nuggets, who were the most recent victim in James and the Los Angeles Lakers' title defense, but the four-time NBA champion is concerned about more threatening situations.
What does James ask?
What adversity has King James not conquered with 16 All-Star appearances, four league MVP honors, and two Olympic gold medals? What superteam has he not dethroned, and what booing stadium has he not conquered? .
For example, Hollywood royalty such as Batman and King Kong will be present at the courtside. Not to mention the Goon Squad's all-star lineup of professionals. This is where Space Jam: A New Legacy comes in. Aside from James' well-received supporting roles and production empire, the film is a costly measure of the athlete's crossover popularity as a leading man and a shifting business paradigm.
It'll be one of the first event films to reintroduce viewers to theaters this summer, despite the fact that it'll be competing with a simultaneous HBO Max streaming release on July 16.
"If you want to talk about a theatrical film, Space Jam is it," says director Malcolm D. Lee. If James can beat the odds and save himself and his onscreen son from being trapped in the digital world of a rogue A.I. who bears a striking resemblance to Don Cheadle, he can add "A-list movie star" to his long list of accomplishments.
The Space Jam franchise has previously visited this place. The original was more than a surprise slam dunk twenty-five years ago; it was a pop culture juggernaut. The film followed Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan and Looney Tunes frontman Bugs Bunny as they teamed up with the rest of the Tune Squad to take down the Monstars, a squad of undersized aliens who stole the planet.
The outcome was a win for everyone involved: Warner Bros. made a $230 million hit, with a billion-dollar merchandise empire to go along with it; the soundtrack went platinum six times; and Jordan cemented his status as a global icon.
"It felt like a real cultural moment," says New Legacy producer Ryan Coogler, who remembers proudly performing "Hit 'Em High" from the film at his middle school talent show.