The original Space Jam starring Michael Jordan was a precious part of many people's childhood. One of those people is LeBron James, who is preparing to step into the shoes of his basketball idol for the upcoming Space Jam 2: A New Legacy. TMZ Sports has released an audio recording of a heartfelt speech given by James to the crew of the movie on his last day of filming last summer.
"I'm gonna be honest completely with you guys -- when I found out about the project, I was like it's 'Space Jam'! It's a movie that I grew up watching. People in the movie that I idolize. I was like absolutely, I gotta do it. There's no way I can turn down 'Space Jam'!"
"I'm just a small kid from Akron, Ohio -- a very small town outside of Cleveland. From a single-parent household, I'm the only child, my mother had absolutely nothing. She was walking around high school when she was 16 years old and she was pregnant with me as a high school sophomore. So, I'm really not supposed to be here."
"Growing up in the inner city, as an African-American kid, there's no way you're supposed to f***ing make it out. And, the fact that I'm who I am as an African-American adult now with 3 kids of my own, and I made it out of the situations that I was in. This shit is like extra credit for me man."
Clearly, his role in Space Jam: A New Legacy means a great deal more to James than getting to star in a beloved franchise. That is why aside from playing the lead actor, LeBron James is also a producer on the movie.
The original Space Jam told the tale of Bugs Bunny, Daffy Duck, and their Looney Tunes cohorts battling a group of alien invaders via basketball match. In order to prepare for the match, the cartoons hop into the real world and go to Michael Jordan for advice and training. The retired basketball legend decides to help the toons and even agrees to play in one last match against the aliens to save the world.
After Jordan declined to appear in the film's sequel, Warner Bros. toyed with several ideas for a follow up to Space Jam using other athletes. Tiger Woods, Tony Hawke, and Jeff Gordon were all in consideration for the film at some point.
After being stuck in limbo for years, Space Jam 2 talks finally restarted back in 2014, with LeBron James set to take over Jordan's role, and with the animated heroes and villains from the original once again playing a basketball match to decide the fate of the world.
Space Jam: A New Legacy is directed by Malcolm D. Lee and produced by Ryan Coogler, LeBron James, Duncan Henderson and Maverick Carter. It features a lead cast of LeBron James, Don Cheadle and Sonequa Martin-Green, and is set to release July 16, 2021. This news comes from TMZ.