Space Jam, one of the best movies ever made, was first released on November 15th, 1996 which means that the film recently enjoyed its 19th anniversary. And since this seems like a good a time as any to explore the bizarre and wonderful events that culminated in Michael Jordan playing basketball with Bugs Bunny, here are nine facts about Space Jam that you may have not known.
1. The original website that debuted back in the 1990’s to coincide with the movie’s release is still active.
So, if you’re feeling nostalgic for all things Space Jam, this gloriously dated website should do the trick. Despite the dated navigation, the site is surprisingly comprehensive and fun. Not only can one find trailers, credits and photos from the film but it also has animation sketches, actor bios, character bios, basketball tips and more.
2. The whole concept of Space Jam was based off a Nike commercial.
And, to be fair, sometimes it felt like it.
3. Space Jam is the best box office-performing basketball movie of all-time.
Space Jam was a rousing success at the box office. While it “only” made $90,418,342 domestic on an $80,000,000 budget, the film did make $230,418,342 in total and it’s the most successful basketball movie of all-time, besting second-place White Men Can’t Jump by about $14 million. And that doesn’t even factor in all the merchandise that was created to go along with the film.
4. The list of NBA players and personnel who appeared in Space Jam is freaking impressive and (and long).
In no particular order, here’s who shows up in Space Jam, both credited and uncredited: Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Muggsy Bogues, Larry Johnson, Shawn Bradley, Del Harris, Vlade Divac, Cedric Ceballos, Paul Westphal, Danny Ainge, Alonzo Mourning, A.C. Green, Charles Oakley, Derek Harper, Jeff Malone, Anthony Miller, Horace Grant, Steve Kerr, Luc Longley, Brian Shaw, Bill Wennington and Scottie Pippen.
5. There’s a nod to Michael Jordan’s fraternity in the film.
Daffy Duck mentions that he’s partial to purple and gold when the characters are trying to come up with a team uniform. That is not a reference to the Lakers. It is a reference to Michael Jordan’s college fraternity Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. The fraternity’s colors are purple and gold and the Omega brand can be seen on the left side of Jordan’s chest in one scene in the movie.
6. In order to make Michael Jordan happy during the filming of the movie, Warner Bros built Jordan his very own basketball court.
And, because Jordan would play with anyone who came to the filming, he ended up being in tremendous shape which made his transition to training camp very easy according to Steve Kerr:
While out in LA, (Jordan) basically let it be known that any of the NBA guys who were in town should come and play with him.
They had unbelievable games all summer long.
That meant that when Michael came to training camp he was in incredible shape and incredibly motivated.
7. The soundtrack went 6x platinum, for good reason.
The movie had R.Kelly’s “I Believe I Can Fly” and Seal’s cover of “Fly Like an Eagle”. As good as the movie is, the soundtrack is freaking amazing.
8. Despite Michael Jordan being the big draw, Bugs Bunny got first billing on Space Jam‘s movie posters.
9. There were rumors of a Space Jam 2 in the works, starring LeBron James.
News had broken earlier this year that Charlie Ebersol, son of broadcaster Dick Ebersol, was set to start working on a Space Jam 2 with brother Willie Ebersol. It was supposed to be a starring vehicle for LeBron James. Unfortunately, sources close to LeBron denied that LeBron was working on such a project even as LeBron seemed intrigued when asked about the possibility of starring in a Space Jam 2.
“Like I said, I’ve always loved Space Jam. It was one of my favorite movies growing up. If I have the opportunity, it will be great.”
Make it happen please.