10 Reasons Why 'Space Jam' Is Still Amazing 20 Years Later

Matt King@TheRealMattKingFeatured ColumnistNovember 30, 2016

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Twenty years ago, we were introduced to one of the greatest movies, nay, one of the greatest pieces of art the world has ever been given. Space Jam.

At least that's what 12-year-old me thought at the time. And nostalgia can be an addictive and mind-altering drug. It was entirely possible that Space Jam wasn't as good as I remembered it. So I went back and watched it...and it was still awesome.

I understand that it may not be the most sophisticated opinion to say how great a 20-year-old kids movie that was basically made to sell toys was, but I have to be honest with you. I re-watched it three times to make sure and, yep, it's good.

Don't get me wrong—there's plenty of ridiculousness, but that just adds to the charm. So here you go, in no particular order, the 10 reasons why this movie is still fantastic.

The Soundtrack

Let's just start here, because you pretty much have to. They kick off the movie with "I Believe I Can Fly," because when you have gold, you lead with it.

Then they hit you with the Quad City DJs and legitimately one of the greatest hype anthems of all time.

And there are other classics scattered through the movie:

"Fly Like an Eagle" — Seal.

"Hit 'em High" — LL Cool J, Busta Rhymes, Coolio, Method Man, B-Real.

"Basketball Jones" — Barry White, Chris Rock.


Michael Jordan's Baseball Career Gets Torched

Athletes get a special pat on the back these days for being able to poke fun at themselves, so Michael Jordan deserves a gold star for what this movie put him through in regards to his baseball career.

Don't get me wrong—it was hilarious. From the catcher on the opposing team trying to tell him what pitches to swing at, to his teammates all telling him what good looking strikeouts he had, to Jim Rome absolutely roasting him on TV:

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Also, how great is it that that's how small Michael Jordan's TV was in 1996?


NBA Players Pretending to Be Bad

I love a good "person who is really good at something suddenly becomes very bad at it" twist. And you can tell the NBA players involved had a good time with it. Check out the dedication on Patrick Ewing.

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And fun fact: This is actually how Shawn Bradley ran in real life.

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Bill Murray Is a National Treasure

I say this without any trace of hyperbole: Every single thing Bill Murray says in this movie is hilarious.

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Look, it's a dumb movie where Michael Jordan plays basketball with the Looney Tunes. There's every reason for Murray to just phone in his scenes and take a paycheck, but he actually looks like he's having the most fun of anyone.

I love Bill Murray.


Michael's UNC Shorts

Every kid in the world knew that Michael Jordan played with his University of North Carolina shorts under his regular shorts in the NBA, and this movie was at least 90 percent responsible for that. I'm not sure why I love that so much, but I just do.

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Fun fact: The bulldog's name was Charles. That had to be a dig at Barkley, right?



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These jerseys were awesome, and I will fight anyone who says otherwise. Michael Jordan could somehow just make everything seems so much cooler when he wore it.


The Monstars Were Kind Of Badass

In case you were wondering, yes, they were dunking from the three-point line.

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Also, and this is important, in my research I found out that the green Monstar had Patrick Ewing's talent and the purple Monstar had Larry Johnson's. It drove me nuts trying to figure out who was who when I watched this as a kid.

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You're welcome.


Lola Bunny

Let's get this out of the way and then never speak of it again, cool? Lola Bunny was hot. It was weird that she was hot. She was a bunny for goodness sakes.

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Like, why did they have to do that?

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I think this sums up everyone's feelings on Lola Bunny.




Yes, technically his name is Wayne Knight, but let's be real here: He's Newman. 

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Yes, his character is over the top and annoying at times, but remember how I said Jordan was a good sport about his baseball career? Well, Newman was a really good sport about his size, because they did him dirty.

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The Final Shot

One issue I have with the final shot is that Jordan figures out he can do cartoon things in cartoon land after seeing Newman get flattened like a pancake and then blown up. But halfway through the movie, Jordan gets turned into a ball, dribbled around and dunked, so shouldn't he have known this already?

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Also, you have a movie with Michael Jordan where he stretches for the final score and you DON'T have him dunk? Because let's be clear—that was not a dunk. That was some Dwight Howard Superman bullcrap. He wasn't anywhere close to touching the rim.

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[Sigh] What are you going to do, though? It was a cool moment.


Random Thoughts:

— I am here for that Disney slander.

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— Remember when a kids movie had two cartoon characters pointing pistols directly at the screen because they wanted to do a very random homage to Pulp Fiction for some reason?

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— The officiating in the game was suspect to say the least, but the most egregious non-call was this goaltending.

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— I love how Jordan steps out of a damn spaceship and everyone is just clapping like "great entrance" and not freaking out that a cartoon spaceship just landed.

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Great movie, right? Let me know your favorite moments in the comments or anything I missed.

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