Before the release of Space Jam 2, Don Cheadle has decided to shed some light on why he never got the opportunity to play with the real-life version of LeBron James.
If you are wondering why, the answer is pretty clear. He is a brand in himself with contracts worth millions of dollars. The player was never encouraged to play during free time. According to Cheadle, multiple people worked on keeping the player safe during production.
And it was not the first time. The same protocol was followed during the shoot of the original Space Jam.
I wish I had ever been able to just play with him, just to do it, just to have that experience. But you know, I think the headline that everyone was definitely trying to avoid was, ‘LeBron James gets injured on set of Space Jam 2 [laughs] in pick-up game.’ It’s like… No, we weren’t doing that. Even in the movie, when he would go hard, go hard at the basket and dunk, we’d have technocranes around him, and extras and standing around, and camera equipment. We were all very nervous.
The official synopsis of the movie reads,
Welcome to the Jam! Basketball champion and global icon LeBron James goes on an epic adventure alongside timeless Tune Bugs Bunny with the animated/live-action event “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” from director Malcolm D. Lee and an innovative filmmaking team including Ryan Coogler and Maverick Carter. This transformational journey is a manic mashup of two worlds that reveals just how far some parents will go to connect with their kids. When LeBron and his young son Dom are trapped in a digital space by a rogue A.I., LeBron must get them home safe by leading Bugs, Lola Bunny and the whole gang of notoriously undisciplined Looney Tunes to victory over the A.I.’s digitized champions on the court: a powered-up roster of professional basketball stars as you’ve never seen them before. It’s Tunes versus Goons in the highest-stakes challenge of his life, that will redefine LeBron’s bond with his son and shine a light on the power of being yourself. The ready-for-action Tunes destroy convention, supercharge their unique talents and surprise even “King” James by playing the game their own way.
The second installment, named Space Jam 2, is coming out on HBO Max and in theatres on July 16. In the meantime, you can take a look at the trailer below: