Warner Bros has been struggling to recruit other star NBA players to join LeBron James in 'Space Jam 2,' and shoe deals could be to blame

LeBron James’ sequel to “Space Jam” is set to begin production this summer, but so far, the Lakers superstar has faced a somewhat surprising challenge with the film – finding other players to join the Toon Squad.

In early April, NBA insider Brian Windhorst said while appearing on ESPN’s “The Jump” that James’ recruiting pitch for the movie was not going as well as he had planned.


While there are numerous reasons players might be averse to joining the film, according to the Hollywood Reporter, sneaker contracts from some of the league’s top superstars might be the source of some of James’ struggles.

According to the report, stars such as Stephen Curry and James Harden are unlikely to join the cast, and their non-Nike shoe deals are an important factor in their reasoning.

Per THR:

“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.

The report also says that the already-busy Hollywood schedules of some superstars, specifically Kevin Durant, who is working on a television series of his own for Apple, may also be causing difficulties in recruitment.

James already has plenty of talent on the production side of things, with “Black Panther” director Ryan Coogler set to produce and Terence Vance of HBO’s “Random Acts of Flyness” directing.

Read more: Lebron James is making a sequel to ‘Space Jam’ and the director of ‘Black Panther’ is involved

But whatever production talent James’ has at his sides, he’ll still need some other NBA stars to join him in order for the film to be a success.

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