Which NBA Players Will Appear in Space Jam 2?
Back in February, Warner Bros. officially announced that a long-anticipated sequel to the 1996 hit Space Jam will hit theaters in 2021. The 1996 version featured Michael Jordan, but the sequel is set to star LeBron James. The Looney Tunes will presumably be involved, too.
In case you are unfamiliar with the original version, Space Jam starred Jordan in the partially-animated film as he tried to help the Looney Tunes beat some evil aliens in a basketball game. The aliens had sapped the talent of some of the best players in the NBA at the time (Patrick Ewing and Charles Barkley, among others), and Jordan was enlisted to help the Looney Tunes restore order.
We obviously have no idea what the premise of the sequel will be, but considering this is a sequel, not a remake, it won’t just be the same movie all over again. Like the last iteration, though, we can expect that LeBron James won’t be the only famous basketball player set to make an appearance in the upcoming film.
In fact, intrepid reporter Shams Charania of Yahoo reported back on June 19 that a number of current NBA and WNBA stars will have roles in Space Jam 2:
Sources: Space Jam 2, starring LeBron James, is expected to feature key roles for Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis and Klay Thompson and WNBA stars Diana Taurasi and Nneka Ogwumike. Several more NBA and WNBA players, including Chiney Ogwumike, are expected to play roles in film.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 20, 2019
Bovada has a prop bet posted regarding which other stars may make a credited appearance in the movie. Those mentioned in Charania’s tweet are not available as betting options, but could there be other big names we don’t yet know about making cameos?
Let’s break it down. The updated odds are below:
Odds to Appear in Space Jam 2:
- Dwyane Wade (-105)
- Carmelo Anthony (+175)
- Kyrie Irving (+210)
- Ben Simmons (+450)
- Joel Embiid (+750)
- James Jones (+1600)
- J.R. Smith (+2200)
- Kevin Durant (+2200)
- Giannis Antetokounmpo (+2800)
- Stephen Curry (+4000)
- James Harden (+4000)
Who Can We Eliminate?
First off, we should mention the Nike impact. LeBron James is the most noteworthy Nike client of them all, so you can be sure there will be plenty of Nike tie-ins in Space Jam 2. Of those listed with odds, Kyrie Irving, Ben Simmons, Kevin Durant, and Giannis Antetokounmpo also have Nike sponsorships.
However, Giannis has reportedly publicly turned down the chance to appear in the movie. The newly-crowned NBA MVP will likely spend his offseason focusing on the season ahead, so we can go ahead and scratch the Greek Freak off the list at +2800.
Durant also just ruptured his Achilles during the NBA Finals, which obviously complicates matters. The Achilles requires a long recovery and rehab process, so it’ll be quite a while until we see K.D. on the court again. The injury likely takes him out of the running to appear in the movie, so I’ll also pass on Durant at +2200.
It also seems like James Harden, and Steph Curry are unlikely to make an appearance in the Space Jam sequel. Harden is an Adidas athlete, while Curry represents Under Armour. The Hollywood Reporter recently reported that neither will be in the film, so pass on both at +4000 apiece.
It also seems like we can pass up both J.R. Smith and James Jones. Two of James’ former teammates are close to the four-time league MVP, but neither is a big enough name to where it makes sense to throw them into the movie. Jones is also currently serving as the general manager of the Phoenix Suns, so I’d say there is no chance an executive from a rival organization appears in the movie, regardless of his friendship with LeBron. Both are long shots, anyway.
Kyrie Irving, of course, is no stranger to the silver screen. LeBron’s former teammate starred in a movie of his own, Uncle Drew, which came out last summer. Irving has legitimate acting chops. While the relationship between LeBron and Kyrie became strained when Irving requested a trade away from Cleveland, the two have reportedly made up since. There are even rumors that Irving may seek to rejoin James in LA as a free agent this summer.
I think there is a pretty legitimate chance that Irving makes an appearance here, all things considered. Kyrie is far from an amazing betting value here at +210, but I do think there is merit to thinking he shows up at some point. Irving is the best option on the board here, in my opinion.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are two of the game’s brightest young stars, but neither seems all that likely to feature in Space Jam 2. That said, the Sixers did just suffer a brutal loss in the second round of the playoffs at the hands of Kawhi Leonard and the eventual champion Toronto Raptors, so it stands to reason that they may want to lay low for a while considering the recent disappointment on the court.
I prefer the value that comes with Embiid (+750) to Simmons (+450) despite Simmons having the Nike tie-in, but both seem like real long shots at this point. With guys like Damian Lillard, Anthony Davis, and Klay Thompson already confirmed, I’m not sure there’s much need to cram any more in here. As a result, I’d probably pass on betting on either of these 76ers teammates.
Banana Boat Crew?
Carmelo Anthony barely played last season as he never found a new team following his release from the Houston Rockets early in the season. Dwayne Wade, meanwhile, retired after the end of the year. The two have been close friends with James for years. Considering neither of them seems to have basketball obligations at the moment, why couldn’t they show up in Space Jam 2?
While both are decent betting options, I do think Wade is a near-lock. Naturally, the odds reflect as much. Wade is at -105 to appear in the upcoming movie, which makes sense considering the history he has with LeBron.
Melo, meanwhile, is a tougher call. Anthony hasn’t retired from the league, and all indications are that he would like to continue his career, if possible. Focusing on basketball rather than starting an acting career is probably in his best interests if he’s serious about getting back into the NBA. While I don’t think it’s impossible that we see Carmelo in the movie (+175), I’d rather just take the slightly better odds that come with Irving (+210).
It remains to be seen whether Space Jam 2 will be able to capture the imaginations of kids around the country the way its predecessor did back in the mid-1990s. A lot has changed back then, though you can be sure there will be a good amount of fanfare upon its release in a couple of years. If nothing else, those that were kids when the original came out (me, for example) will be excited to check out the sequel.
As far as betting goes, Shams Charania spoiled some of the fun when he revealed some of the cast earlier this month. However, Kyrie Irving (+210) and Dwyane Wade (-105) look like decent bets to target if you still want to get some action in on the next Space Jam.