1. Who is the best Looney Tune hooper?
The easy answer here has to be Lola. She’s a shifty combo guard with a bag of tricks deeper than the hole Michael Jordan was sucked into in the original Space Jam. The hole in question is referring to the literal opening in the ground that served as a temporary portal to the world of Looney Tunes. Not to be confused with the economic and emotional valley Jordan put himself in after years worth of gambling debts.
The devil’s advocate perspective might have one saying that the best Looney Tune hooper would be between Coyote and Roadrunner. Anyone who’s seen Space Jam: A New Legacy should be privy to the fact that the duo almost single-handedly saved the lives of countless basketball fans and Warner Brothers-owned properties. The two accumulated nearly 1000 points in less than a minute to bring the trailing Tune Squad within a point in crunch time.
That being said, those 1000 points were scored while playing “DomBall,” the devilish gaming creation of LeBron James’ youngest son. DomBall is a highly exaggerated form of basketball that rewards players for flashy gameplay and showboating moves. In a video game sense, the concept is great. In a life or death game controlled by the tyrannical creative director of Warner Bros, it’s terrifying.
If the Tune Squad was tipped off about the rules of the game they were forced to play, I doubt LeBron would’ve been the consensus choice. Despite being (arguably) the greatest player to ever play basketball, I would’ve opted for a style-over-substance culture favorite like D’Angelo Russell. Maybe a high flying Zach LaVine or a crafty 7-foot point guard Nikola Jokic
2. Could LeBron still beat the Goon Squad without a historic performance from Coyote and Roadrunner?
The age-old criticism of LeBron becomes relevant once again. The King finished with just 4 total field goals. His Tune teammates, however—shouldered much of the offensive load—a recurring fallacy for James-led teams. I’m not sure that the sentiment applies in real-life basketball, but it’s not unreasonable in the world of Space Jam.
It’s important to remember that the climactic final game in Space Jam: A New Legacy is not basketball. As referenced before, the two teams play “DomBall”, a fast-paced video game that only draws inspiration from real basketball. DomBall’s hectic nature is better suited for the
Looney Tune behavior and skill set. To say that LeBron wouldn’t have won without the Tune Squad vets isn’t outrageous. To say that they don’t need him is. LeBron’s leadership and intangibles are fully on display in the locker room setting. That doesn’t show up in the box score.
Playing with the Tunes comes with the added bonus of not having to deal with stupid egos and boneheaded plays. Call me crazy, but I’m taking Bugs and Daffy over Kyrie Irving and JR Smith.
3. Would LeBron be better off with the team he wanted?
When initially tasked with the burden of playing against the Goon Squad with his life on the line, LeBron jumped at the opportunity to recruit some of WB’s most powerful characters. His draft board included Superman, Batman, Trinity, and King Kong. On paper, that starting five is as close to unbeatable as one could be.
This unit really has everything a team could ask for.
Superman: Do-it-all type wing akin to LeBron himself. No on-court physical weaknesses with inhuman finishing ability. Maybe a little raw in the technical aspects but displays a willingness to improve. Player comp: The idea of Andrew Wiggins circa 2014.
Batman: Clever and just physical enough to get by. Might fall into the lockdown defender/hustle play slot on the roster. Player comp: Tony Allen skills with Magic Johnson IQ.
Trinity: Absolute speed demon with silky smooth fundamentals. I don’t see anyone staying in front of her. Player comp: The slow-mo George Gervin highlight reels on YouTube.
King Kong: Bruising big man with an incredible motor and the humility to know his place on the team. We’re not going to see Kong take possessions off or go through the motions of a meaningless post-up. If he needs to rough up the other team’s star, he will. Player comp: Kendrick Perkins.
When looked at in the context of Space Jam: A New Legacy, this team easily falls apart. LeBron and the Tune Squad trailed by almost 500 points at the halfway mark. Basketball skills aren’t a necessary component to win at DomBall. For lack of a better word, the team needed to get a bit looney to pull out the W. LeBron’s original foursome doesn’t strike me as the looniest of groups. The Tunes were the right choice.
4. Who wins between the Goon Squad and The Monstars?
It’s only a matter of time until the heels of the Space Jam universe collide. Al G. Rhythm’s Goon Squad vs Swackhammer’s Monstars. Who comes out on top? For the sake of the hypothetical, we’ll play out this scenario on two fronts; regular basketball and DomBall.
In DomBall, the winner seems pretty clear-cut. The Goon Squad was programmed specifically to play DomBall with full knowledge of its rules and tricks. The hapless Monstars would be frazzled at the mere idea of such technology.
Basketball is a more complex discussion. The first thing to do is compare each team’s professional basketball counterparts.
Mugsy Bouges vs Damian Lillard
Larry Johnson vs Diana Taurasi
Charles Barkley vs Klay Thompson
Patrick Ewing vs Nneka Ogwunmike
Shawn Bradley vs Anthony Davis
Barkley and Ewing are the clear best players in this series. That combo alone might’ve be enough to push the Monstars over the top. However, I’d venture to say that all 5 Goon Squad members are better than the other 3 Monstars. This makes for a dead even talent matchup which pushes us to evaluate more than just the X’s and O’s.
Both teams proved to be a powerful foe against the Tune Squad. However, the Monstars’ basketball scheme relied almost entirely on their overwhelming size and strength compared to the tiny Looney Tunes. That advantage won’t exist against the taller and stronger Goon Squad. They’ve improved upon every weakness that the Monstars exhibited, creating a force of nature that should remain unstoppable. Goon Squad in 4.
5. Could LeBron have competed in the Moron Mountain era?
It feels nitpicky to question LeBron’s dominance after four NBA championships and a Space Jam title on top of it. That being said, are we sure he could’ve held up with the overwhelming physicality from the Moron Mountain era of Space Jam 1? The defense was just different back then. With higher stakes and a milder social climate, the Tune Squad brought guns to a basketball game. Literally. That’s not all. Dynamite, fishing poles, live cattle, and mopeds were all used en route to the cartoons’ freedom from Nerdluck control.
There was just a different kind of physicality to the game back then. We’ll never truly know if LeBron could’ve replicated Michael Jordan’s success from the original Space Jam, but is it cynical to doubt?
6. Was Marvin The Martian once again undervalued?
Yes. Yes. And another yes. What does Marvin need to do to gain a little respect? I’m not saying the Tunes should be friends with him. Feel free to endlessly foil his intergalactic schemes. But in a one night only, no holds barred basketball match? Who could possibly be more valuable than an aggressive Martian with a laser gun and a penchant for blowing things up?
After six meaningless questions, readers and viewers are still left with the same one they’ve had all along. “Why?” Why did we need Space Jam 2? The answer is the same reason why we got the first one. MONEY. Michael Jordan’s Space Jam was just as hollow and commercialized as its sequel. Who cares? We got to see two of the greatest athletes ever battle to the death against cartoon aliens and it was a ton of fun. I just don’t know what else people were expecting. Space Jam is what it is and I like it. More people should start appreciating it in the same vein.