Casting the 2014 Monstars for Space Jam 2: Part 1

There’s been a lot of rumors floating around about a reboot of Space Jam, casting LeBron James as the plucky human who leads the Tune Squad against the Monstars in a game for global dominance. James gets the call as the most prominent face of the NBA and the Association’s own air-apparent (see what I did there) to MJ.

Hat Tip: ConsequenceofSound.net

Hat Tip: ConsequenceofSound.net

I know what you’re thinking, if you wanted to watch a stud athlete trot around a basketball court with a bunch of animated characters, you would have just watched Arne Duncan dominate the Celebrity Game at the NBA’s All Star Weekend this year.

But seriously, Space Jam is one of the definitive sports movies of the time when I grew up and it was an icon for anyone in either the sports or entertainment industries. It gave us reason to love “I believe I can fly.” It proved that Michael Jordan was the most important player in the NBA even after he left the sport for gambling no apparent reason. It was a basketball movie. It was a kids’ movie. It had no actual professional actors.

This post isn’t about Space Jam’s greatness, that much is assumed. It’s about the possibility of a Space Jam 2, and since we already know who would play for the Tune Squad, it’s time to think about whose talent the aliens could steal to build the Monstars. Today, and each of the next four days, we’re going to nominate one player from today’s NBA to play on the Monstars in place of one of the originals. We’ll be using the Space Jam box score from Harvard Sports Analysis as a guide.

The real Monstars basically had three All-Stars (GrandMaMa Johnson, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing) and then a couple of size-related freaks (Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley). We’ll build the 2014 team the same way. Without further ado,

Casting Muggsy Bogues in 2014

Muggsy

Muggsy

Muggsy wasn’t on the team to shoot. Actually, no one was on the team to shoot. A quick review of the box score  shows us that every point the Monstars earned was on a dunk. They somehow also shot 9-9 from the three-point line, but I’m not here to talk about that. Muggsy’s line was six assists, four steals and nothing else. Not one shot attempt. He was a cross between a mascot and Ewing’s little brother who was only on the team so Ewing’s mom could get them both out of the house.

Muggsy wasn’t good. From a PER or win-share standpoint, he was horrendous. He was on the team to be comically undersized. He was outscored by Wayne Knight. On a team with five players, a 0% usage rate is just unforgivable. Lucky for us, that makes Muggsy’s character pretty easy to replace. We need someone with all the personality to be in a basketball movie and none of the actual basketball skills to be actually involved in a basketball game.

The role of the Muggsy character is to keep his chin up and be kind of jovially menacing while he holds on to the ball and gets dunked through the hoop accidentally by one of the talented players. He’s got to be the Monstar who is bouncy and smiley and adorably likable. There aren’t any players on the Monstars that we actively want to cheer for, but this one is one who won’t do the good guys any harm.

Originally, Zach and I wanted to put Kyrie Irving on this team as the designated little guy. He has the handles (uncle Drew) and the playmaking to be the star of a movie. If this were a list of Five Players Who Would Make the Most Fun Team to Watch If Aliens Came to Earth and Stole Basketball Talent From Five NBA Players to Beat LeBron James, Some Other Random Humans and a Bunch of Cartoons in a Game of Basketball for Intergalactic Domination, Kyrie would be on it. But it’s not that kind of list.

I bounced around a lot in terms of finding the right personality/skills combination, settling and then unsettling on Rajon Rondo, Chris Paul and Ricky Rubio. Honestly all of them seemed a little too good at basketball.

When you think about it, there’s really only one player that can be Muggsy Bogues in 2014: Nate Robinson.

I’m no Photoshop professional, but here’s a rough estimate of what it would look like:

Monstars Nate Robinson

Monstars Nate Robinson

Who would you cast as the littlest Monstar? This whole thing is a community event, so let us know in the comments.

Keep coming back this week, we’ll be unveiling a new Monstar every day.

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