Many basketball fans who came of age during the 1990s hold "Space Jam" — the hit 1996 film that saw Michael Jordan don a "Tune Squad" uniform to help the Looney Tunes avoid enslavement by an intergalactic theme-park owner (seriously) , that gave us "Hit 'Em High" and "I Believe I Can Fly," and that remains the highest-grossing basketball movie ever made — close to their hearts. Long-burbling speculation about a possible sequel or reboot of the franchise reached a fever pitch back in July, when LeBron James' production company inked a wide-ranging deal with Warner Bros. Entertainment, the studio that owns the trademarks for "Space Jam."
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It remains unclear whether any such project is actually close to getting off the ground; the Cleveland Cavaliers superstar has expressed interest in it and said he hopes to "do some great things" with "Bugs and Daddy and Tasmanian Devil and every last one of them," but there's been no word of any substantive movement beyond that. Should such a production get the greenlight, though, James is not the only NBA superstar who'd want a piece of the animated action.
Fresh off his recent experience working with one of the members of the original "Space Jam" cast, Los Angeles Clippers power forward Blake Griffin says he'd love to get involved in whatever film might come next, according to Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders:
Basketball Insiders: You’ve done some improv work with hilarious comedians and actors, including one of my favorites: ["House of Lies" and "Parks and Recreation" co-star] Ben Schwartz. When did you start getting into improv and acting, and do you aspire to have an acting career?
Blake Griffin: “I’ve been into comedy and improv for as long as I can remember. I remember watching 'Saturday Night Live' for as long as I could remember. I use to watch improv shows and standup comedy, just any kind of comedy. I’m a huge fan of comedy. Now, I’ve gotten the opportunity to kind of do some cool things and meet some awesome people, like Ben, but I’m not an actor. I don’t think acting is the route I’m going to go. I’m a fan of all of that stuff and I like doing it, and there may be sometime where I get to do something. But down the road, after my career, I probably won’t be acting [full-time]. It’s not really my thing, because right now it’s just all basketball and all of the stuff I get to do is on the side and it’s extra. But it is a lot of fun for me and I really do enjoy it.” [...]
Basketball Insiders: Well, there is one movie everyone can imagine you in and that’s "Space Jam 2." Your recent Marvin the Martian commercial got some "Space Jam" fans excited. Would you like to be in a "Space Jam" sequel if it ends up being made?
Blake Griffin: “Oh, absolutely, absolutely. I’d love to be involved in any capacity, really. 'Space Jam' was a huge part of my childhood. I actually had a "Space Jam"-themed birthday party as a teen. Then, when I turned 21, my friends got me a 'Space Jam' cake again just to re-live the glory days. It has been a big thing for me so being able to be involved in any capacity would be great, even just being one of the guys that’s in there would be cool. I think it would be a lot of fun. If you told me when I was 8 years old that I could possibly have a chance to be in 'Space Jam 2,' it would have blown my mind. That would just be like another check off the bucket list.”
While many other NBA players will surely lobby for a role in a new "Space Jam" flick, few would figure to have Griffin's bona fides. Remember, the former Funny or Die intern and sometimes stand-up has actually stepped into Mike's Air Jordans before, taking on the M.J. role in a staged table read of the "Space Jam" script at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles last year:
There's no way that Griffin would get top billing in a second "Space Jam" should LeBron commit himself to the project, but it's very easy to see him slipping into a supporting role that allows him to offer some comic relief. I'd never thought of it until now, but "somewhere between Young Larry Johnson and Bill Murray" seems like the lane Blake was born to fill, really.
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