The creative team behind the new Space Jam movie hopes Michael Jordan takes a role. Jordan, of course, starred in the 1996 original, helping the Looney Tunes keep their freedom by defeating the Monstars in a basketball game. At the time of the film's release, Jordan had already cemented his status as one of the NBA's all-time greats, having won four championships (and two more to follow) with the Chicago Bulls. He was easily the most marketable player in the league (and arguably the most popular athlete in the world), so it made sense for him to headline a movie.
Jordan retired from playing for good at the end of the 2002-03 season, which coincidentally was the last NBA season before James was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. James has gone on to become the arguable successor to Jordan, as he is the current face of the league and one of the most accomplished players of his generation. Comparisons between the two will only continue once James appears in his long-gestating Space Jam reboot, and there's hope the film could see the two basketball icons cross paths at long last.
In THR's feature covering James' burgeoning career in Hollywood, his business manager Maverick Carter touched on the possibility of Jordan snagging a part in the new film:
"We'll see. Hopefully there will be a role for Michael if he wants it. But Michael Jordan is Michael F***in' Jordan. It doesn't matter [if James] calls him, he's gonna do whatever the hell he wants, which he has earned that right to do... LeBron and Michael are not sitting around talking about Space Jam."
Carter and James will likely reach out to Jordan with an offer to gauge his interest, but it's debatable if Jordan should be in this film. If the whole idea behind the project is to give the property a fresh start, then it might be smart to distance it from the original as much as possible. Jordan would plausibly have a cameo at most, which may not contribute anything to the overall story. At the same time, James has great admiration and respect for Jordan, and is "humbled" to follow Jordan's footsteps as a Space Jam lead. It wouldn't be out of the question for him to want bring Jordan in, bridging together the two generations. Of course, as Carter suggests, it's really all about what Jordan wishes to do. If Jordan says he wants to be in the next Space Jam, it will happen.
For fans, it's encouraging that Space Jam 2 conversations are now about whether or not Jordan will have a role, rather than if it's ever going to happen. After lingering in development for years, the anticipated followup is taking strides towards the big screen, recently recruiting director Terence Nance and producer Ryan Coogler. There's a lot of talent assembled on this one, so hopefully the next Space Jam is a worthy successor and becomes a classic in its own right.