Giannis Antetokounmpo turned down a cameo appearance in “Space Jam 2,” preferring instead to spend the summer training for the 2019-20 season.
“I don’t like being Hollywood,” The Greek Freak says.
The LeBron James vehicle is having trouble attracting top-flight NBA talent, reportedly due to the way shoe deals are set up.
Antetokounmpo does make summer modifications to accommodate relaxation and family time. Still, when approached about starring in “Space Jam 2” with LeBron James, Antetokounmpo declined. Being in the film would have required him to give up two weeks of private workouts to train with his fellow stars while making the movie, a total non-starter, given Antetokounmpo’s reclusive tendencies.
“I don’t like being Hollywood,” Antetokounmpo says. “I don’t like all this extra drama. I am just going to try to be me.”
It’s more complicated than it seems. Sources tell The Hollywood Reporter that fellow All-Stars Stephen Curry, James Harden and Kevin Durant likely won’t join James on the celluloid court. But that has more to do with sneaker contracts and the film’s script — the latest version is being penned by Black Panther’s Ryan Coogler and Searching’s Sev Ohanian — and less to do with James’ ability to enlist high-profile ballers. In fact, Warner Bros. is responsible for roping in talent, not James.
As to why shoes matter, Nike is essential to the Space Jam franchise. The 1996 first film was based on the “Hare Jordan” commercial directed by Joe Pytka, who also helmed the feature. That makes the involvement of Curry (Under Armour contract through 2024) and Harden (Adidas) nearly impossible, sources say. Durant, though a key member of Team Nike, is pursuing his own Hollywood efforts, including an Apple series, Swagger, based on his life.
Those familiar with the script say Space Jam 2 will rely less heavily on a Dream Team of hoops luminaries than the Michael Jordan-led film, which saw more than a dozen real-life NBA stars cameo and grossed $231 million worldwide, not adjusted for inflation. Instead, LeBron’s family arc is key, with a yet-to-be-cast teen character named Dom as the second lead, sources say.