The hype train for Space Jam: A New Legacy is leaving the station, and we have our first swipe at Michael Jordan’s original.
We’re still over three months away from the release of Space Jam: A New Legacy, but it’s never too early for the LeBron James vs. Michael Jordan discourse to kick up.
Naturally, with LeBron James starring in a Space Jam movie the comparison to Michael Jordan quite literally script itself. Whether or not the movie is actually any good as a piece of cinema is beyond the point. People are going to go to Space Jam: A New Legacy for three reasons: The popcorn, Bugs Bunny, and to see whether LeBron out-acts Michael Jordan.
Director Malcolm D. Lee is leaning all the way into that aspect of the film, which is honestly a brilliant bit of early marketing. His main endorsement of the film, probably unsurprisingly given his role, is that LeBron’s version is better than MJ’s.
Space Jam: A New Legacy director takes shot at Michael Jordan
Per Entertainment Weekly:
Don’t take this personally, MJ, but for Lee, there’s no debate. “Space Jam: A New Legacy is a better movie than Space Jam,” he declares. “LeBron’s got that going for him.”
I mean, what is he supposed to say?
Malcolm D. Lee is the cousin of legendary film director Spike Lee, who has a history with Michael Jordan. Lee can and should be credited with helping cement Jordan’s place in pop culture the way we wax poetic about today. Jordan the basketball player became Jordan the marketing tool thanks to a lot of people, but it was Lee’s commercials with Jordan that truly marked the crossover into pop culture that feels so commonplace for athletes today.
Jordan was always going to sell his signature shoes, but Lee made them cool.
Now his cousin is trying to needle LeBron into the lead in the G.O.A.T. debate in a similar fashion with an off-court entry into the battle.
So the real takeaway here isn’t whether LeBron or Jordan is the G.O.A.T., it’s that the Lee family pulls the strings while everyone else plays the game.