LeBron James Slammed by Director of Original ‘Space Jam’: ‘LeBron Ain’t Michael’

by Emily Morgan

The director of the original Space Jam, Joe Pytka, has some not-so-nice thoughts about the new sequel, Space Jam: A New Legacy. “The truth is that LeBron [James] ain’t Michael [Jordan],” the 82-year-old director told TMZ. 

He added insult to injury when he added that James doesn’t have the same cultural relevance that Jordan saw in the ’90s. Pytka also told the outlet he thought the movie needed a more significant connection to the Los Angeles Lakers’ personal life, which production fictionalized in the script. According to Pytka, it took him five different viewings to get through the 115-minute film.

Moreover, he also revealed he took issue with the animation of Bugs Bunny and the rest of the Looney Tunes characters. He said that it “looked like one of those fluffy dolls you buy at an airport gift shop to bring your kid when your business trip has taken too long.”

Pytka may not have enjoyed the film, but that’s not the case for other viewers. In fact, Space Jam: A New Legacy is quickly becoming a box-office hit, raking in $31.7 million at the box office during its opening weekend, ultimately overthrowing Marvels’ Black Widow. 

On July 16, HBO Max made the film available to stream, meaning its potential revenue could be even more impressive.

Original Space Jam Director Bashes Sequel, Lebron James Remains Unbothered

After news of the movie’s status broke, LeBron James tweeted a link to a story about New Legacy on Saturday, July 17, with the message, “Hi Haters!” Before the tweet, the film was getting ridiculed by critics despite it being a hit among fans. 

The former Cleveland Cavaliers player attended the film’s premiere earlier in July with his wife, Savannah James, and their 6-year-old daughter Zhuri. 

“About last night!” he wrote on an Instagram post after the event, alongside several photos of the James family at the premiere. “It was a ABSOLUTE SURREAL feeling doing a WORLD premiere of @spacejammovie in which I’m the lead role! Beyond Craziness. I literally would have dreams about being in Space Jam with the Looney Tunes when I was a kid growing up. Can’t believe this, I just can’t!”

The James-led sequel was thought to be in the works for years before it finally went into production. According to James, part of the reason it took so long to film was that James didn’t know if he could step into Michael Jordan’s size 13 shoes. 

“In my younger days, part of my thinking was, ‘Space Jam was so good, how can I top this?'” he told Entertainment Weekly in the spring. “There’s always going to be conversations about LeBron trying to do everything Michael [did]. But I’ve gotten older, and you know who you are. You know what you stand for.”