After 25 years of waiting, Warner Bros makes our frustrated childhood dreams come true: a sequel to Space Jam. With the magnificent LeBron James as the protagonist, Space Jam: A New Legacy brings us a story of fatherhood, adrenaline, sports, the most important – fictional – basketball game of the decade, and this time, special participations from Nike, who created footwear and outfits for the film – now available for sale – that fans will be able to shop for for their personal collections.
At a press conference we spoke with Maverick Carter, LeBron’s business manager and CEO of SpringHill Company, producer of Space Jam: A New Legacy movie Jason Petrie, senior footwear designer at Nike; and Georges Labossiere, senior product director of footwear at Nike, on this long-awaited event, as well as the inspiration behind the new LeBron 12, the sneakers that will mark 2021.
Maverick, when the first Space Jam came out, you and LeBron were eleven and twelve, just the age of Ceyair J. Wright, who plays LeBron’s youngest son. With the arrival of Space Jam: A New Legacy, what is the impact you want to leave on the children of today and future generations?
It was a huge responsibility to make this movie and we wanted to make something that would survive the tests of time and have an impact, like the first one. And thanks to the actors and the director, Malcomo D. Lee, I think we did it. I believe that young people and children want to feel empowered and the connection with family and parenthood are key to that. We believe the film will survive the tests of time and live up to the Space Jam franchise.
When you think of a movie like Space Jam, which marked the childhood of many of us, how do you feel about being part of it?
It is a dream come true. I mean, I never thought of myself as someone who would have a chance. It’s an amazing moment, you know? As a child I lived on my television and now I have the possibility to work with it. It is something that I would never have dreamed of or considered as part of my career. I feel very lucky for that, worse also for being able to make a film that survives the tests of time. That responsibility was huge for us because at SpringHill we love making content that empowers and entertainment that lasts.
This movie will mark a lot of different people, and something that is very exciting is the amount of elements that were made to bring this to life. Jason, from a product perspective, you were sure to get excited when this project hit your desktop. I mean, maybe it was similar to the first film, but this time there is a Nike product in the same movie. Can you tell us about that?
Sure. Every time I work with LeBron and we make a shoe for him, it’s an incredible opportunity. It is a unique opportunity to be able to work with him, solve a problem and bring Nike technology and innovation to the real world. But now we were able to combine that with the amazing team at Warner Bros and Bugs Bunny and his team, and the magic of cinema and imagination. Having those two worlds to make a product was an incredible opportunity that we wanted to exploit to the fullest. We were so excited to get out of the real world and into this alternate reality that LeBron exists in with Team Toon.
Tell us about the LeBron 19. What should we expect?
He has new technology, never seen before, inspired by the fact that we didn’t have to limit ourselves by things like physics and general forces that we would expect, because you never know what to expect when you’re in a situation like LeBron’s. We did something that helped LeBron on and off the game, but also an expression that has never been seen on Nike and LeBron.
Georges, what was it like to design this product for you?
It was fun and exciting. There is great responsibility, and as they say in sports, it was a team effort. We work between teams with Warner. We worked in a virtual cartoon environment, trying to make a product that could be used in the real world and that fans would like. It was a huge responsibility, but an exciting one.