LeBron James and SpringHill Entertainment are finding it difficult to secure NBA stars for the sequel to 1996’s Space Jam. After news broke yesterday that Giannis Antetokoumpo turned down an opportunity to star in the film because he’s “not Hollywood,” a story today from The Hollywood Reporter claims that Steph Curry, James Harden, and Kevin Durant, who were all extended offers to join the film, have been ruled out.
According to the report, Steph Curry and James Harden will not take part in the film due to their current sneaker contracts. Curry under contract with Under Armour until 2024, and James Harden signed to a lengthy deal with adidas, would be in conflict of those endorsement agreements by working on Space Jam 2, a film largely associated with Nike.
Nike, of course, plays a critical role in the adoring film franchise. With the first installment starring Michael Jordan and the second firmly cemented around LeBron James, the series orbits two of Nike’s biggest endorsers in brand history. So for Curry and Harden, this was never a partnership they could legally enter into.
Kevin Durant, on the other hand, has been a cornerstone in the Nike family for more than a decade. Yet The Hollywood Reporter claims that Durant won’t co-star in Space Jam 2 because he’s looking to make his own imprint on Hollywood.
Durant is working on an Apple series, Swagger, based AAU basketball in the nation’s capital. It seems as though that project is his current focus where television and film are concerned.
Space Jam 2 seemingly won’t have the NBA star power that the first film had. And, by all estimations, it won’t need to. Featuring a script by Black Panther’s Ryan Coogler and Searching’s Sev Ohanian, the picture will find much of its focus on James’ family life. Terence Nance of HBO’s Random Acts of Flyness will direct while Oscar-nominated Bradford Young has joined as the film’s cinematography, ensuring the quality of the project won’t be called into question.
Sonequa Martin-Green has signed on to play James’ wife in the film. Moreover, the role of Malik, modeled after James’ best friend, will be played by his real-life childhood friend and business partner, Maverick Carter.
Space Jam 2 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on July 16, 2021.