There are two kinds of people in this world: those who admit Space Jam is the greatest film of all time, and liars.
Brought out in 1996, the film follows the Looney Tunes' battle against some aliens from extra-terrestrial theme park Moron Mountain in a basketball game. However, these pesky little aliens (The Nerdlucks) have stolen the powers of some of the NBA's top players, so Bugs Bunny and Friends need to call on their good buddy Michael Jordan for some help to save the day.
Now, there's just one problem for us. The film is about basketball, not football. But... wait for it... what if it did have footballers instead? And what if it was set today? These are the questions we all want to know the answers to.
Let's take a look at how a 2020 version would look.
Right, we have a big problem. In basketball terms, 'jam' means to dunk the ball. That's a very basketball thing to do. You might not have noticed, but we don't have a lot of dunks in football (although that's a rule change which should be made immediately).
'Did you see Ronaldo's 40-yard jam last night?'
'Messi jammed it in top bins.'
See, this doesn't work.
So, what do footballers do? They smash, they bang, they... crash?
Space Smash. Space Bang. Space Crash. We need better verbs in football.
Anyway, let's go with Space Smash. It's the least awful of them all.
You’re offered $5 million to score against Michael Jordan 1-on-1. You’re given 10 chances. This is prime MJ.— Chicago Bulls (@chicagobulls) April 17, 2020
If you fail, you won't be able to hear music ever again.
Would you lace up? pic.twitter.com/DdcT9g40KG
In 1996, there was no bigger name in basketball than Michael Jordan, who had just retired from the game for the first time.
However, in 2020, would the Looney Tunes really want a 57-year-old Jordan as their saviour? Probably not.
So, we're looking for a global superstar who has just walked away from football to take up the role in Space Smash (I know, I don't like the name either) and score all the goals for the Tune Squad.
We could take Xavi, but he doesn't do enough of the scoring. Ronaldinho would be a good option, but he's a little preoccupied after getting arrested in Paraguay. How selfish.
What's that? The studio is ready to strike a deal to get him out of house arrest early? That's great! Sign him up! I'm sure he's ready - playing five-a-side in a Paraguayan prison can't be too different from suiting up alongside the Looney Tunes anyway.
The aliens in Space Jam before they turn into the Monstars are my favorite thing ever pic.twitter.com/CPylS5Zgfn— Nick Mondel (@Nickythehack) March 21, 2020
So, the Nerdlucks get frustrated with their failing theme park and want to get a little 'Looney', so they travel over to the Tune universe and start fighting with Bugs Bunny and Co.
Because of the all-important 'Give Them a Chance to Defend Themselves' rule, the Looney Tunes have to come up with a way they can defeat the aliens. In Space Jam, they focus on the fact that the aliens are tiny, so they go for basketball, but being small in football isn't really a problem.
Instead, of being tiny, the Space Smash aliens will have to be stupidly tall and gangly. Like if Peter Crouch combined himself with... another Peter Crouch.
The Tunes would see the skyscraper creatures and think they could weave their way around the aliens, but the Nerdlucks have a nasty trick up their sleeves. Time to steal some powers.
In pre-production for Space Jam (1996), the original names for each of the aliens had to do with “zero”: Void, Bupkus, Null, Void, and Zilch. This is reflected by the fact that they all have the number 0 on their basketball jerseys. pic.twitter.com/7uw06chTCe— Movie Details (@moviedetail) February 8, 2020
Any of Charles Barkley, Shawn Bradley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues could probably still do a job on a basketball court, but stealing their powers in 2020 doesn't have the same ring to it. Most of them were retired five years after the film came out.
However, at the time, they were all big names. Ewing and Barkley were only a few years past their dominant primes but were still major forces, so we'll need two ageing superstars to fill their roles.
Ideally, we want the best players in the world, but let's not kid ourselves, we're not getting Cristiano Ronaldo. He would only want to be the star of the film and there's no amount of money which could convince him to sign up to be a secondary character - even though there was enough to get him to do that horrific Shoppee advert.
Bradley was a polarising talent who couldn't decide if he was awful or elite, Johnson was an up-and-coming star and Bogues was a 5'3 sensation who defied the odds with each passing game. We need to replace all three perfectly.
Mario Balotelli can be our Bradley, since his life is pretty much like a cartoon anyway, and we'll take Trent Alexander-Arnold to be our up-and-comer. Finally, instead of Bogues, let's drop World Cup winner and fellow small man N'Golo Kanté in.
Losing Their Talent
The "you're not Charles Barkley" part of space jam always makes me really sad pic.twitter.com/FEAYsBlIaO— (@jakethe13th) May 12, 2017
As soon as the NBA sees the five players have taken a turn for the worst, they postpone the league immediately because they don't know what's going on. Unfortunately, football isn't that kind.
Instead of seeing football postponed, our five-a-side squad would just be publicly humiliated by their adoring fans. There'd be memes, blooper videos and articles about how we all knew Alexander-Arnold was a one-season wonder anyway.
Ibra would rock up to a park in Milan and be challenged by a group of kids, and after babbling on about how 'only Zlatan can stop Zlatan' or some other nonsense, he'd end up getting embarrassed by the kids.
By this time, Serie A would have been suspended, because they know how to react in the face of a crisis, but the Premier League would keep going until the very last minute. How do I know this? Well, where have you been for the last few months?
Getting The Gear
As we all know, Jordan could only play in his North Carolina shorts, and they're so important that he makes Bugs and Daffy Duck go to the real world to find them in his house.
Instead, the pair would head to Ronaldinho's homeland of Brazil to find his old
The Ultimate Game - First Half
23 years ago today, Space Jam was released.— ESPN (@espn) November 15, 2019
In honor of the release, pick your Tune Squad pic.twitter.com/JIYHoEBjqO
It's time for the showdown. Armed with his
The Secret Stuff
Jordan pulls out his 'Secret Stuff' (literally just water) and convinces his team to drink it because it'll make them as good as him. So, Ronaldinho needs some Secret Stuff.
Ronaldinho turns to his bag in his locker and pulls out loads of counterfeit documents - passports, driving licences and birth certificates. Each of the Tune Squad has their own set, but the documents all specifically say that they're great at football. The proof is right there.
Seeing Ronaldinho's secret, the Tunes storm out to the court to make the greatest comeback of all time.
The Ultimate Game - Second Half
Good news: the first 2 eps of The Last Dance (the incredible story of Michael Jordan and the '90s Bulls) will be available on Monday— Netflix UK & Ireland (@NetflixUK) April 15, 2020
Also good news: as will Space Jam (1996) pic.twitter.com/2yYIqdIjuh
Now all questionably documented, the Tunes are unrecognisable as they play their way through the Monstars with ease.
Thanks to some Looney tactics, our heroes cannot be stopped, but Bugs ends up getting flattened after a Monstar lands on him. We need someone new. In Space Jam, they turn to none other than Bill Murray, but that's a little too 1996 for us.
Instead of the Ghostbusters star, we'll be greeted by Will Smith, who flies out the tunnel in his full kit to save the day.
Buoyed by Smith's arrival, the Tune Squad go on to bag a last second winner after Ronaldinho elasticos his way past the entire Monstar team. It's done. The world is safe.