It has been 20 years since the world’s greatest athlete Michael Jordan and the world’s best loved cartoon character Bugs Bunny teamed up for the ultimate, intergalactic game. It is the story of the dream team vs. the mean team, it is the battle of the Looney Tunes vs. the Nerdlucks, it is the clash of good vs. evil.
Space Jam is legendary! It is probably the most iconic basketball movie ever made and, unbelievably for critics, actually the highest-grossed one of all time – by the way, White Men Can’t Jump just ranks second. However, the film divided an entire generation. For most of the kids from the 90s, it was more than a movie: It was the motivation to follow your dreams no matter how impossible they seemed to be. For others, it was total nonsense: a visual mess, a dull story-line and a lack of authenticity. For us, it has always been a must-see for basketball fans.
The whole movie is a plain joke about His Airness real-life baseball career. In a way, it tells you a fictional alternate history to MJ’s years between his retirement of the league in 1993, his ludicrous baseball mission and his return to the NBA in 1995. Space Jam is a clever masterpiece and a cultural touchstone for millenials. It delivers punch line after punch line, witty references over brilliant references, starring stars of sports as well as comedy. Oldie but goldie, the film is a true classic! Join us on our trip down memory lane and jump on board:
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
THE BASKETBALL LEGENDS
THE COMIC LEGENDS
THE BAD GUYS
R. Kelly’s Grammy Award-winning song “I Believe I Can Fly!” opens up the first scene of Space Jam and epitomizes the entire movie: never give up, all your troubles will fade away in the end. It’s the story about MJ announcing his retirement after his third championship with the Chicago Bulls and his intentions to gain a foothold in the minor baseball league. Meanwhile, on another planet far far away, Swackhammer, the owner of the amusement park Moron Mountain desperately tries to get new attractions for his park – by all means. Thus, the villain sends his Nerdlucks to capture the popular Looney Tune characters. Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird and their buddies see themselves in an apparently hopeless situation. But don’t worry, never write off these tricksters. In their attempt to free themselves from the claws of the bad guy, they suggest the ultimate battle. Taking advantage of the puny and little underlings, a basketball game is bound to decide over the lives of the gang – even if the comic characters don’t know how to play this sport either. Challenge accepted! What seemed like a pretty easy job soon turns into an absolute nightmare. The Nerdlucks turn the tables and steal the talents of the biggest superstars of the NBA. From wimpy nothings to terrifying MonStars, the aliens are now players you do not want to mess with. Afraid of forever being enslaved as entertainers in the amusement park, the Looney Tunes can not get around asking the Greatest of All Time! Bugs & Co. kidnap MJ while he is playing golf with Larry Bird and Bill Murray. It’s up to Michael to help the Tunes Squad play the game of the games against the MonStars. No more spoilers on this one, you gotta have to watch this intergalactic battle for yourself. A clash full of mind-blowing dunks, nasty fouls and spectacular shots awaits you!
KICKZ’ FAVORITE SCENES
1. OPENING SCENE
It’s the summer of 1973: Young Michael Jordan is practicing his hoop skills in his backyard while R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” track wavers in the background. “I spread my wings and fly away…”, quite fitting lyrics for MJ and his ‘Wings’. It’s the perfect opening scene for this movie – “If you do good enough, you can do anything you want to, Michael!” Wise words, Mr. Jordan Senior! It is the mantra for Space Jam!
2. THE WHITE GUY JOKE
First of all, Bill Murray and the umbrella hat – legendary! Secondly, Bill Murray, Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in one GOLF scene, legendary. Thirdly, the white guy joke – LEGENDARY!
Bill Murray: Do you think I got a shot (in the NBA)?
Michael Jordan: No. Listen, it’s a man’s game… and you can’t play.
Murray: What if I tried real hard…? It’s because I’m white, isn’t it?
MJ: No, Larry [Bird] is white. So what?
Murray: Larry’s not white. Larry’s clear.
3. THE PROMISE
Doctors are running tests to find out why the NBA superstars’ game is so off. They meet a shrink, they pray in the hospital’s church, they make promises. Charles Barkley is ingenious in this scene: “I promise I’ll never swear again. I’ll never get another technical. I’ll never trash talk…” but the absolute highlight is “I will never go out with Madonna again!” This was a cheeky reference to the rumors saying Barkley and pop superstar Madonna were dating. Gossip as an inspiration for the script – brilliant!
4. THE RISE OF EVIL
The L.A. Lakers reference in the beginning is already great, but when the Nerdlucks turn into the MonSTARS, the breath of my younger self was caught. “I think we might need a little bit of help” – it’s MJ-time!
5. THE BEST LINEUP IN BASKETBALL HISTORY
“Ladies and gentleman, the starting lineup for Tune Squad: Standing 2″4′ tall, the wonder from down under – the Tasmanian devil. The small forward, standing 3″2′, the heartthrob of the hoops – Lola Bunny. The Power Forward, the quackster of the court – Daffy Duck. And the point guard, standing 3″3′, 4″ if you include the ears, co-captain of the Tune Squad, Doctor of Delight – Bugs Bunny. And now, the player coach of the Tune Squad, at 6″6′ from North Carolina, his royal Airness – Michael Jordan.”
6. THE SCOREBOARD
… was just way too clever! Unbelievably, that the MonStars blew a 66-18 halftime lead to Michael Jordan and the Tune Squad in the end. (Oops, too much information!)
7. “PERHAPS I COULD BE OF SOME ASSISTANCE”
Did you notice the “Ghost Busters” reference at the beginning? Bill Murray alias Dan Aykroyd alias Bill Murray assisting the Tune Squad in the crunch time – even if they are on defense! Moreover, another great hint is in this scene: “Pardon me! Mr. Murray, something is really been bugging me. Just how did you get here anyway?” – “Bruce is a friend of mine, just had a teamster coming drop me off here.” Murray refers to his friend Bruce Smith here, co-directing the animation segments of Space Jam. With only ten seconds remaining, the scoreboard shows 77-76. It’s probably the best scene in the entire movie when MJ makes the last shot turning into a comic character himself. Morphing humans into comic figures is pretty cool for the 1996, isn’t it?
8. BAD GAME NO MORE
“You know, he probably even doesn’t have it anymore guys…” Shawn Bradley couldn’t be far more from the truth. MJ still got the handles!
9. LADIES AND GENTLEMAN, MICHAEL JORDAN!
… and of course, R. Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly!” in the background!
One last fun fact for you: The Official Page of Space Jam by Warner Bros has not been edited since its publication in 1996 and is still online. Check the homepage for some nostalgia, it is always worth a visit: SPACE JAM
All our pictures have been taken from this iconic homepage!