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Why Other NBA Stars Won't Join LeBron James In 'Space Jam 2'

LeBron James addressing the media.

CLEVELAND, OH - JUNE 08: LeBron James #23 of the Cleveland Cavaliers speaks to the media after being defeated by the Golden State Warriors during Game Four of the 2018 NBA Finals at Quicken Loans Arena on June 8, 2018 in Cleveland, Ohio. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers 108-85 to win the 2018 NBA Finals. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

LeBron James is currently getting ready to film Space Jam 2 following his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers, which ended with disappointment and no postseason berth.

The Lakers star is reportedly having difficulty getting other NBA stars to join him for the sequel to Michael Jordan's iconic movie.

The Hollywood Reporter had some details on why that's the case.

Unsurprisingly, it's shoe companies.

Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kevin Durant likely won't join James on the celluloid court. But that has more to do with sneaker contracts and the film's script — the latest version is being penned by Black Panther's Ryan Coogler and Searching'sSev Ohanian — and less to do with James' ability to enlist high-profile ballers. In fact, Warner Bros. is responsible for roping in talent, not James.

As to why shoes matter, Nike is essential to the Space Jam franchise. The 1996 first film was based on the "Hare Jordan" commercial directed by Joe Pytka, who also helmed the feature. That makes the involvement of Curry (Under Armour contract through 2024) and Harden (Adidas) nearly impossible, sources say. Durant, though a key member of Team Nike, is pursuing his own Hollywood efforts, including an Apple series, Swagger, based on his life.

FiveThirtyEight, meanwhile, has decided to use math to cast the movie with players similar to the ones that appeared in the original:

Here's who they came up with:

  • Anthony Davis as Patrick Ewing
  • DeMarcus Cousins as Charles Barkley
  • Tobias Harris as Larry Johnson
  • Fred Van Vleet as Muggsy Bogues
  • Mohamed Bamba as Shawn Bradley

The movie begins filming this summer. LeBron will reportedly have a full basketball court built on-set so he can train.