ICYMI: Years worth of speculation finally came to a head yesterday when rumors of “Space Jam 2” were confirmed to be headlined by none other than everyone’s favorite try-hard, Lebron James…
If you are anywhere from 10 to 40 years old, a fan of the NBA, or a lover of fine cinematography, you worship Michael Jordan’s crowning jewel of his career, Space Jam. While this is not an admonition of my love for the movie, the news of Lebron potentially taking over MJ’s mantle for a reboot has me thinking about a more important question: who in today’s NBA should have their powers stolen by the goons of Moron Mountain? Today, I provide the definitive selections…
The rules are simple, there are five spots to fill for the previous representatives comprised of Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley (Side note: This deserves a WTF?! Seriously this casting decision needs more analysis someday). My highly quantitative formula for selecting the Space Jam 2.0 group is based on 3 levels of analysis:
- The player has to be elite or considered elite for his position: Space Jam debuted in 1996, and it is clear that all 5 players satisfied this condition. The two borderline guys are obviously Bogues and Bradley, but a cursory look at their stats for the 94’-95’ season (Presumably when casting for Space Jam would have occurred) are surprisingly in the ballpark for “elite level production” so to speak. Bogues averaged 11 points, 9 assists and 1.3 steals a game and was responsible for orchestrating the OG Charlotte Hornets offense that literally yammed on everyone in their path. Even Bradley put up some admittedly surprising numbers for the season averaging nearly 10 points, 8 boards and 3 blocks per game. While those are not eye popping stats, they are solid numbers for a guy that was mostly ridiculed his entire career. Anyway, Bradley will serve as the only exception to this rule.
- The player has to have persona. If this were 2010 I would probably be saying that the player has to have “swag,” but I like to think we live in a far more cultured society in 2015 and anyone who still uses that term has been ostracized from civilization. So, this requirement is more of a subjective opinion. Simply put, the player has to have an aura to him where if you are flipping through channels and you see this guy conducting a presser, you pause and watch. Or he could consistently produce gold worthy quotes. Or he could consistently provide front page news. You get the point. The players to take the helm for Space Jam 2 must have charisma, this is a movie after all.
- The player must be as similar in style to the player that he is replacing as possible. This is the most critical criteria. Space Jam was the pinnacle of cinematography for every 90s era individual. To mess with perfection would be a sin. Therefore, we need the Morons of Moron Mountain to be looking for the best talent to round out a 5 man roster. They know that they were on the precipice of victory that would have resulted in MJ becoming a slave on Moron Mountain required to play 1on1 and lose every game (This is nightmare stuff for MJ). If I was a betting man, my money would be on the Monstars in a matchup against Lebron because lets be honest, everyone knows he is no MJ. So, this rule is PARAMOUNT to selection.
Without further ado, lets get to your definitive selections for Space Jam 2…
Muggsy Bogues – John Wall
This was easily the toughest selection made, but Wall edges out fellow candidates Isaiah Thomas, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. To be honest, this pick was made more through process of elimination. While Paul likely has the most similar style of game to Bogues as floor general, he is simply too disliked to be in a movie. And as much as we all want Westrook to be the choice here, he really is not the most charismatic of fellows. In fact, he is downright terrifying in pressers sometimes. If you are even lucky to get a word out of him. To me, Wall has the perfect combination of all 3 criteria. He is a top 3 point guard in the league. He has a persona unto himself. He pretty much makes the Wizards offense run solo dolo. Oh and he singlehandedly popularized the Dougie as a rookie. Respect. Wall wins.
Charles Barkley – Draymond Green
Sir Charles is mostly known nowadays for his NBA on TNT shenanigans. For making outrageous statements backed by absolutely no statistical or qualitative reasoning. And for that we love him. Back in the day, Barkley used to run his mouth with the best of them. Trash talk was always at a premium when when he took the hardwood. No putdown was off limits. Enter Draymond Green… I mean, could this be anymore perfect? Draymond is probably the best shit talker in the game today. Not only will he verbally annihilate your soul, he will then back it up by dropping a trey in your face and swatting you into the stands. Like Barkley, Draymond is an undersized player for his position, but plays bigger than his size. He guards all 5 positions on the court, and he bangs on the block with the best of em’. Also, he is charismatic AF, he belongs in a movie. Maybe even his own standalone film where he takes over a Will Smith-esque role in a Bad Boys reboot. They both get/got after it, they both play/played with their hearts on their sleeve, and they both will verbally undress you.
Larry Johnson – Blake Griffin
To be honest, this is may favorite pick. I genuinely believe the careers of these two guys are on the same arc (Minus the injuries for Blake I hope). Both players came into the league with immense hype for their pogo-stick bounce and vicious posterizing dunks. Yet, similar to LJ, Blake has been able to transform his game over the last few years. As the injuries piled up for LJ, he transitioned into more of a jump shooter, relying less and less on the explosiveness that made him a star. Despite being only 26 years old, Blake has successfully added that component to his game as well. Although Blake will still treat the audience to a completely emasculating slam every now and then, it is clear that adding that sweet baby J from the elbow to his game will allow him to transition to life after dunking. He kills in the KIA commercials and he has injury concerns that will question his long-term athleticism for eternity. Remind you of anyone..?
Patrick Ewing – Anthony Davis
When I look at these two guys as players, I see almost splitting images. Endless arms, incredible foot speed for their size, ability to punch shots into the stands and the prowess to run an offense. Ewing came into the league out of Georgetown as pretty much the Anthony Davis before Anthony Davis. His potential was limitless. Today, AD’s potential is limitless. Combine these characteristics with the fact that AD just developed that midrange jumper into his arsenal and he looks like a clone of Yung OG Ewing. Each was handed a cast of marginal talent to play with. While Ewing was never able to reach the promised land, I hope the same fate does not fall on AD.
Shawn Bradley – Roy Hibbert
Like I previously stated, this selection is the one exception. And Hibbert is the obvious pick! Bradley was only in the league because he was a behemoth. The only reason he was even remotely useful was because of his size. There is no doubt that the doofy looking blue Monstar drew the short straw and got stuck with Bradley’s powers.
Is that not Hibbert?! For fucks sake the guy’s calling card is that he uses “verticality” on defense. GTFO. Hibbert is much maligned for being slow, lumbering and ineffective in pretty much every other area of the game. He is also soft as tissue paper. But, rules are rules. We are recreating Space Jam, and sadly someone needs to fill the Shawn Bradley slot. For once in his career, Hibbert is the best suited player… Congrats Roy! Hopefully your powers are the reason that the Looney Tunes prevail yet again.
AND YOU KNOW IT
(Note: The contents of this post were previously blogged by the author at loudbanter.com… groovy)