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Why can’t Space Jam 2 score A-list NBA cameos? Blame the sneakers

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Apr 10, 2019, 1:39 PM EDT (Updated)

Despite his superstar status, NBA legend LeBron James is having a tough time getting his fellow basketball stars to co-star in his upcoming film, Space Jam 2. But it's apparently out of his control: What's really jamming up the works are the shoes, according to a story from The Hollywood Reporter.

Fans hoping to see NBA All-Stars Stephen Curry, James Harden, and Kevin Durant appear alongside James in the follow-up to the first film (led by Michael Jordan) may be sorely disappointed, as their sneaker contracts are reportedly stopping them from being able to play ball. 

Since Nike is key to the Space Jam franchise, this prevents the involvement of not only Curry, who’s under contract with Armour through 2024, but also Harden, who has an exclusive endorsement deal with Adidas. Although Durant is under contract with Nike, he’s pursuing his own projects, including an autobiographical Apple series, Swagger.

However, this may not be the insurmountable problem it seems on the surface. Citing unnamed sources familiar with the script — the latest version being written by Ryan Coogler (Black Panther) and Sev Ohanian (Searching) — THR says that Space Jam 2 will rely less heavily on a team of NBA superstars than the original film. Instead, the story for this movie centers more on James' on-screen family. 

Sonequa Martin-Green (Star Trek: Discovery) has been cast as James' wife. A teen character and best-friend character named Malik (modeled after James' childhood friend and producing partner Maverick Carter) will also play major roles in the movie. And although we haven't heard anything on this front, we’re still rooting for Bill Murray to make an appearance in the sequel.

Space Jam 2 is expected to jam theatres on July 16, 2021.