ET’s Deidre Behar caught up with the basketball legend at the 2019 NBA Awards on Monday night in L.A. where he decried the forthcoming sequel to the 1996 film in which he appears.
“Not at all,” he proclaimed when asked if his opinion on the matter has changed. When told that acclaimed director Ryan Coogler is involved in the project, he replied, “Well, listen, I don’t care. Space Jam 1 was amazing. We don’t need 2.”
Last year, at the very same event, Barkley first shared his disinterest in the beloved film getting a follow-up with ET.
In the fall, LeBron James’ Spinghill Entertainment shared a photo that teased what fans can expect to see in the next film. The image showed side-by-side spots in a locker room. Not only did James get a space, so did Bugs Bunny, director Terence Nance and Coogler, who is producing.
“The Space Jam collaboration is so much more than just me and the Looney Tunes getting together and doing this movie,” James told The Hollywood Reporter at the time, explaining why his love for Coogler's Black Panther influenced his desire to have him involved with this project. “It's so much bigger. I'd just love for kids to understand how empowered they can feel and how empowered they can be if they don't just give up on their dreams. And I think Ryan did that for a lot of people.”
“Hopefully there will be a role for Michael [Jordan] if he wants it,” James’ production partner, Maverick Carter, told the outlet in the same piece. “But Michael Jordan is Michael F**kin’ Jordan. It doesn’t matter [if James] calls him, he’s gonna do whatever the hell he wants, which he has earned that right to do. LeBron and Michael are not sitting around talking about Space Jam.”
In the original film, the period between Jordan's retirement from the NBA in 1993 to his return in 1995 is depicted. Only in this version, he teams up with the Looney Tunes to beat a team of aliens, dubbed the "Monstars," who have stolen other NBA players' abilities, including Barkley.
While on hand on Monday, Barkley weighed in on one-time rivals Magic Johnson and Larry Bird receiving the NBA’s Lifetime Achievement Award this year.
“I’ve said many times, Magic Johnson and Larry Byrd are the reasons we have the NBA today,” he said. “You know, a lot of guys are looking at what is happening today, but a lot of it started with Magic and Larry Bird. They’re the two most important figures in NBA history.”