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Happy birthday, Space Jam! Remembering one of the great sports films 20 years on

Where did the time go?

Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny were the dream team in Space Jam.
Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny were the dream team in Space Jam.
Image: Youtube

TWO DECADES HAVE passed since Warner Brothers were struck with an epiphany which resulted in the amalgamation of the NBA and the Looney Tunes.

Professional basketball and cartoon characters together at last, eh? We can all jump to the very logical assumption that Steven Spielberg continues to persecute himself for not coming up with the idea first. Alas, he’ll just have to heal those regrets with the other films on his CV which, let’s face it, are mediocre productions compared to Space Jam.

Source: Amanda S/YouTube

Well we’re eternally grateful to Joe Pytka who did make the movie and on its 20th birthday, we look at some of the facts about Space Jam that may have evaded you over the years.

Simple Beginnings

Source: SwozyGustafsson/YouTube

It’s believed that the film was inspired by a TV ad for the Super Bowl, where Chicago Bulls legend Michael Jordan plays a game of basketball alongside Looney Tunes character Bugs Bunny. From humble acorns do mighty oaks grow and all that.

Famous voices

Dan C Dan Castellaneta had a brief cameo in Space Jam.

Remember the man who was sitting beside the Monstars before they slithered out onto the court and stole the talent from the NBA players? Well Dan Castellaneta might not look too recognisable, but his voice is known universally as that of one Homer J Simpson.

His wife, who was creeped out by the movements of the aliens in the jacket, is played by Patricia Heaton from “Everybody Loves Raymond,” a decidedly less funny show.

Poking Fun At Rumours


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Charles Barkley was one of the unlucky basketball players to be targeted by the talent-thieving Monstars and was left entirely disillusioned by the experience.

He tried to regroup by playing some basketball with some local teenagers but was accused of being a wannabe doppelganger due to his pitiful showing on the court.

In his despair, he turned to religion and vowed to never court (pun intended) Madonna again. That wasn’t just a joke — Barkley was rumoured to have been linked to Madonna in real life, although both parties denied it.

Dolla Dolla Bill

PA-8638098 Michael Jordan in action for the Chicago Bulls in 1995. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Space Jam was a sensation at the box office and grossed over $230 million, making it the 12th highest earning sports movie of all time and even bypassed the money generated from some of the Rocky movies.

Product Placement

Source: scribbleman/YouTube

Jordan’s publicist in the movie Stan Podolak was easily the most irritating character in the history of film, a point that cannot be over-stressed. But there is one scene involving him and Jordan that is quite interesting.

When Podolak comes into Jordan’s hotel room and says ”C’mon, Michael, it’s game time. Slip on your Hanes, lace up your Nikes, take your Wheaties and your Gatorade, and we’ll grab a Big Mac on the way to the ballpark,” he was listing off all of Jordan’s sponsor connections from 1996.

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