LeBron James may be eager for fans to see him in A Space Jam: A New Legacy, but at one point in time, he was uninterested in taking the role. During an interview with Entertainment Weekly, the Lakers star revealed he turned down an offer to star in the sequel to the 1996 film that featured NBA legend Michael Jordan.
“I didn’t think I was ready to do anything of that magnitude,” said James, who was three years into the NBA at the time. “I wanted to continue to focus on my game and give it as much as I could.”
In the years after rejecting the Space Jam 2 offer, James transferred from the Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami Heat, back to Cleveland and then to the Los Angeles Lakers, where he currently plays. He appeared in 10 finals games, won three NBA championships and earned a plethora of basketball records, which have resulted in comparisons between James and his Space Jam predecessor, Michael Jordan.
James concurrently made waves in Hollywood. In 2013, he launched his SpringHill Entertainment production company. Two years later, he was casted to be in the film Trainwreck — an opportunity that gave him the confidence to reconsider the offer for the Space Jam sequel. SpringHill signed a production deal with Warner Bros., and he agreed to take on the starring role.
“In my younger days, part of my thinking was, ‘Space Jam was so good, how can I top this?’” James said in the interview. “There’s always going to be conversations about LeBron trying to do everything Michael [did]. But I’ve gotten older, and you know who you are. You know what you stand for.”
In anticipation of the forthcoming film — which will hit HBO Max on July 16 — James debuted photos of him and his Looney Tunes cast members, including Lola Bunny, who was given a controversial makeover.