by Daniel Olsen
Movie reviews are fun and it’s great that Space Jam: A New Legacy will once again feature an NBA player with Utah ties in a lead role. In the first Space Jam, BYU product Shawn Bradley starred as himself. He and four other NBA players (Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Mugsy Bogues) had their basketball talents stolen by aliens in the movie. Michael Jordan and the Looney Tunes played the aliens in a game of basketball. The “Tune Squad” beat the Monstars (alien Dream Team) and earned Bradley and friends their talent back. How does Damian Lillard look so far from the preview of Space Jam: A New Legacy? It’s time to take a look.
The Goon Squad
The aliens will not be making another appearance. They are perfectly fine on Moron Mountain where they belong. Instead, there appears to be a new Super Team that LeBron and the Tune Squad must defeat. The Goon Squad. Four other well-know basketball players will be the inspiration behind the four other villains surrounding Dame Time: WNBA star Diana Taurasi, Klay Thompson, Anthony Davis and LA Sparks WNBA star Nneka Ogwumike. Other NBA stars Kyrie Irving, Draymond Green, Chris Paul and Kyle Kuzma are reported to make cameo appearances as well.
Grading the Style of Dame
In this movie, LeBron gets trapped in some sort of artificial intelligence. This virtual reality game brings some familiar characters as well as the previously mentioned Goon Squad. In 2021, Lillard is the best player to be on the new villain team. He has had so many heroics this year and health and talented play have made him one of the leading MVP candidates.
The cyborg version of Lillard features a gold body. Maybe this is a tribute to a possible gold medal he will win if he plays in the Tokyo Summer Olympics this summer. He did state that he won’t be playing in Tokyo if the Blazers win the NBA Finals so the jury is still out on that.
The purple jersey is likely a tribute to his college team, the Weber State Wildcats in Ogden, Utah. Lillard has shown his loyalty to Portland so don’t expect to see him in Laker purple and gold anytime soon.
What we know so far
All we see of Lillard is a fast dribbling cyborg player. A fadeaway game-winner three might be more appropriate but, since he’s on the villain side, he likely won’t be doing that. Kyrie Irving seems like the better ball-handler so it will be fun to see what he does in his cameo appearance.
There is also a clip at the end of him looking overconfident before the Tune Squad grandma “goes old school on his butt”. It will be fun to see how the trash talk plays out in this movie. Whenever the Lillard cyborg makes a shot, he should point to his watch to refer to his nickname “Dame Time”.
Possible Utah stars in Space Jam 3
If this movie is a hit, there will likely be a third installment in the next 10 years at the soonest. The jury is still out on who the next star will be. That will depend on which young player cements themselves as the best player in the league. Could it be Zion Williamson, who many are already comparing to LeBron? Maybe they could pick Luka Doncic and appeal to a more international audience. Maybe LeBron’s son could be in the mix.
If Warner Brothers decides to finally show some major love to Utah, perhaps Donovan Mitchell gets the nod after bringing the Jazz their first championship. He could be a strong case for the best young star right now. He deserves consideration for a star or at least a supporting role.
With Kuzma and Lillard representing Ute and Wildcat nation, it’s only a matter of time before an Aggie makes an appearance. No, a cartoon cow doesn’t count. It might be a good idea to rebrand and make the third movie about football. In that case, whoever wins a Super Bowl first between Utah State product Jordan Love and BYU sensation Zach Wilson should get the lead role. If Warner Brothers doesn’t buy in, perhaps sports fans of Utah should make their own movie starring these local players.
Featured image courtesy NBC Sports Southwest