Yesterday came news that LeBron James would be starring in his very first movie. It's a basketball comedy co-starring comedian Kevin Hart, and not, to the dismay of nostalgic millenials, the sequel to the Michael Jordan and Loney Tunes '90s classicSpace Jam
that the world deserves.
Dreams of a Space Jam 2 starring LeBron James have long floated out there in the internet. Even LeBron James himself has said he'd love to do it, but how would one actually do a sequel to Space Jam? Even with a new star it's kind of hard to make a movie about an NBA player helping the Looney Tunes out by playing a game of high stakes basketball presumably against a gang of evil aliens without it being almost exactly the same as the original.
Well, our fan fiction game isn't too strong, but we think we've got the perfect plot for LeBron's hypothetical Space Jamming, complete with its own sports movie cliché lesson. And we've decided, even though this may be the dumbest thing ever published in Riptide history, to share it with you.
Act I: LeBron goes out for the season with an injury and the return of Swackhammer.
The movie starts on opening day of the NBA season in the American Airlines Arena. The Heat are set to take on whichever team doesn't mind being used as generic opponents in the movie. (So, the Milwaukee Bucks probably.) The first three quarters are a typical LeBron show, but during a drive to the basket in the fourth quarter LeBron gets viciously knocked to the ground and doesn't get up. Silence blankets the arena as the crowd realizes the injury is serious. LeBron is taken off the court in a stretcher. Cue a montage of sports casters declaring that LeBron may be out for the season and predicting that the Heat's season might as well be over as well without their star player.
Meanwhile, Swackhammer, the Danny Devito-voiced villain from the first film, sits in a moon prison staffed entirely by a Nerdlucks (remember those guys? So cute!) staff. He looks unkempt with dead eyes. He hasn't talked since the Monstars blasted him off to the moon. He sits alone most days watching sports highlights in the prison media room, and of course is watching the LeBron news. This awakens something in him. He then begins switching furiously between sports channels. "Peyton Manning is so dominate I really think he could make the NFL playoffs with a high school team," says sports talking head. "This team is really nothing without Cristiano Ronaldo. He's practically out there doing it all himself," says another in some European accent. "It doesn't matter what the rest of the team is doing, as long as Miguel Cabrera is at bat they pose a threat," says another.
"That's it," Swackhammer says to himself. "I didn't need a superstar team. I just needed one dominate player."
Meanwhile, there's some sort of discord down in Tune Land. Maybe they're arguing over a new ordinance (Tune Land has a civic government, right? Or are they just anarchists?) that would ban anvil dropping. Tune shenanigans ensuit. Naturally Daffy and Bugs lead the warring factions.
Throw in a couple of scenes of LeBron James feeling sorry for himself, watching the Heat form home injured. Let's cast Rebel Wilson in a role as his rehab therapist, sort of similar to the comic relief role Wayne Knight played in the first movie.
Meanwhile, back on the moon Swackhammer devises an escape plan by promising a group of ten Nerdluck security guards fame and fortune beyond their wildest dreams. Once escaped he instructs the Nerdlucks to go out and steal the powers of the greatest athletes from all sports, including the aforementioned ones from the sports highlights. A female Nerdlucks drains powers from both Williams sisters. Another targets Ryan Locht, because even the villains need some comic relief. A confused Nerdluck targets WWE superstar John Cena. Throw in a few jokes about how wrestling isn't a sport. Swackhammer instructs another to steal LeBron's talent, assuming that his leg might be broken but his skills are still available for stealing (does anyone know the exact physics behind the Nerdluck's skill stealing?). The Nerdluck, confused, ends up at AAA arena and saps Pat Riley's powers instead (who doesn't want to see a Monstar with greased back hair?), but reports he completed his Lebron-skill-stealing duties anyway.
Anyway, with his new team assembled Swackhammer flies back down to Tune Land. He convinces the Tunes he's a changed
man moon alien thing presumably of male gender, and proposes a friendly charity sports tournament to help raise money to correct his past wrongs. The Tunes are still arguing over the anvil dropping ordinance, and Daffy proclaims there's no way they could win without dropping a few anvils. Bugs bets him they can, and if they do anvil dropping will be banned. She he immediately signs Swackhammer's contract. Only after he realizes that Daffy's faction could throw the games does Swackhammer reveal that the contract would actually result in the enslavement of the Looney Tunes should they lose, and he reveals his new team of Monstars.
Bum Bum Bum!
Act II: The Tunes draft LeBron and the tournament
In a perfect world you'd have the Tunes try to get Michael Jordan to help them again, but Jordan would say he's retired and suggest LeBron instead. But Jordan would never symbolically pass the torch to LeBron, even in a kids movies, because thats just how Jurodan roles. He's got tagless Hanes boxer briefs to sell. He ain't got time for that. So the Tunes decided on LeBron some other way. Daffy though of course remains adamant they should get Tim Tebow instead, because they know he'll be available.
Anyway they kidnap LeBron. Bugs obviously says, "We're taking your talent to Tune Land." LeBron says he'd love to help, but he's injured. Bugs reminds him he is in Tune Land now. Serious injuries don't actually exist there, and what do you know LeBron is in full health. LeBron, sick of sitting on the sidelines, is ready to compete.
The first game up is Baseball. LeBron say he's not sure if he's actually good at Baseball. He notes that he's no Michael Jordan after all (*womp* *womp*). Cabrerra-Monstar dominates the game and gets the first win for the Monstars. Meanwhile, Swackhammer is surprised that LeBron has any athletic abilities at all, but even he doesn't even know how those alien skill-sucking powers work, and figures they Nerdluck must have only drained James' basketball powers. He's pleased knowing that Basketball is the final round.
Next up is Football. LeBron has some good moves as both a QB and WR, but the Monstars take the lead by the half behind Manning-Monstar. Then in the second half Taz emerges as an offensive devil. The Monstar's defense is no match for his Tornado-runs. The other tunes pretty much give the ball to Taz on every play in a Wildtaz like offense reminiscent of the 2008 Dolphins' Wildcat, and the rest of the team literally take naps on the field while he does his thing to LeBron's chagrin. LeBron tries to remind them its a team game, but the Tunes seem fine with letting Taz do all the work. The Tune Squad wins round two.
LeBron is pretty pumped despite his team's one-man effort. "We're gonna win not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six more..." he declares before Tweety Bird reminds him there's only three more rounds left.
Next up is soccer, because, you know, we got to think about that international box office. Turns out Speedy Gonzalez with his speed and large feet is actually a soccer stud, proving that size really doesn't matter in soccer. LeBron assists with a few goals, but the rest of the team is content once again to let their star player do all the work, and the Tune Squad snags another win.
Lets throw in a bit here where LeBron asks Roadrunner if he's an Ostrich and says he reminds him of someone he knows. *Rim Shot*
Next up is Tennis. Or some weird game vaguely resembling tennis where the Monstars put up their two-headed Williams sisters Monstar and allow the Tune Squad to sub in players as they see fit. No one is particularly good at first. Not even LeBron, who keeps getting "nothing but net" (bazinga!). Turns out that Bugs proves he's pretty good on his turn, and actually battles the Monstar down to the final point ...which he losses.
Daffy proclaims that Bugs isn't "clutch," and LeBron says, "hey now," and we all chuckle!
The tournament is now tied, and James is growing tired of the Tune Squad's reliance on one star player in each round.
Act III: The Final Showdown
The final game is of course Basketball. This is Space Jam after all. Gotta be a jam in space. The Tunes all act like they've got it in the bag. They've got LeBron on their team after all. In fact, during the first quarter they pretty much let LeBron play one-on-five, and he manages to get up by six by himself.
But, wait! Remember that thing where Swackhammer thought he had one of the Nerdluck's steal James' basketball talent? Got to pay attention to all these complicated plot points! Well, he realizes that Nerdluck screwed up and is about ready to strap him to a moon rocket or smoething, but the Monstar is all like, "Wait, wait, I stole Pat Riley's power instead!" and Swackhammer is all like, "Well, coach this team then." With his genius coaching skills he manages to use all the Monstar's individual talents from other sports to work coherently. Think of all the wacky site gags we get where they apply their other sport's skills to basketball. So wacky! Looney even!
And it works! Its halftime and the Tune Squad is now down by ten. Back in the locker room they're all criticizing and getting down on LeBron. LeBron is all like, "Hey, come on, I know you stupid cartoons are smarter than the anchors at ESPN!" *insert sly Bugs joke aimed at Mickey Mouse because media conglomeration is hilarious as hell!*
LeBron then goes on to give an awe inspiring halftime speech about how one player can't do it alone and you need a full team.
"There's no I in team," LeBron remind them. Cut to exclusive new Looney Tunes character Richie, who is just a giant eyeball with legs and arms who shrugs, "Well, I can see I'm not wanted here," and walks off to never be seen in any Looney Tunes media ever again. Sorry, Richie the Eyeball.
He then reminds them that even Michael Jordan couldn't beat the Monstars alone. Daffy retorts that those Monstars had super basketball skills, and while these Monstars may be super athletic none of them are natural basketball superstars. LeBron reminds him that it's pointless to always directly compare two players who played in different eras under different circumstances. LeBron is really getting a chance to work out a lot of his rage at the media in this movie for some reason. The kids will love it! Kids hate the sports media! They make their dads check that Skip Baylis isn't hiding under their beds at night.
So LeBron and the Tune Squad go out to play the second half as a team. Rebel Wilson is now down in Tune Land too somehow, and she gets to do some fun Rebel Wilson things. I'm sure she'll figure it out. Also, instead of Bill Murray, Chris Rock makes the special cameo as the comedian who for some reason comes to play the game. Why not? Who doesn't like Chris Rock?
The Tune Squad and the Monstars continue to play a close game. It comes down to three points. Everyone expects James to go for the tie, but instead he passes it to Porky Pig. This is a team effort after all. Porky makes the three right at the buzzer, because Porky Pig is the new Ray Allen (sorry, Ray Allen). Porky Pig is our new three point Jesus! The game then goes into overtime. Dramatic basketball things occur. The Tune Squad is down by one. Things seem helpless. The Ball is by the Monstars basket, and LeBron makes the rebound. He jumps for it! The Monstars grab on, and, because LeBron is clutcher than Jordan, he stretches his arm not just from the half court line but all the way across the line and make the improbable cartoon dunk.
Yay! LeBron! The Tune Squad Wins. Swackhammer is defeated once again. Loose ends are tied up. The athletes get their powers back. Swackhammer and his teacherous Nerdluck/Monstars end up together back behind bars in Nerdluck jail.
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LeBron is pumped as hell after the game, and is ready to go back and win another championship with the Heat. Then suddenly he remember when he goes back to the real world he'll still be injured. He's happy for his new cartoon friends, but sad for himself, you know? Then Bugs is like, "Wait a second? Everytime I have an anvil dropped on me it hurts like hell, but I'm completely healthy five seconds later." The Tunes convince LeBron that he needs to have a anvil dropped on him and he'll be back to full healthy. It works! Because cartoons! Plus, if you didn't notice, the Tunes anvil dropping inter-conflict is resolved. The National Anvil Association rejoices!
So LeBron goes back to Miami fully heeled. He walks into the locker room, and is all like, "I'm back, lets get to work and salvage this season." Then Dwyane Wade says, "Um, actually, we're still second in the East." There are just so many levels to the way this movie reinforces the moral that a team isn't just its star player! Subtlety doesn't really work on kids. Gotta really drive that message home. So in the end it turns out that the Heat managed to play well not only without LeBron, but also without Riley's basketball genius. This is Erik Spolestra's favorite movie. He really can coach.
End of Movie, I guess. R. Kelly's new song "We Believe We Can Fly," plays over the credit.