During the coronavirus shutdown, each day we will bring you a recommendation from The Post’s Peter Botte for a sports movie, TV show or book that perhaps was before your time or somehow slipped between the cracks of your viewing/reading history.
SPACE JAM (1996)
With everyone in a Michael Jordan mood with the release Sunday of ESPN’s highly anticipated 10-part documentary “The Last Dance,” His Airness’ big-screen debut seemed to be the natural selection.
No, it certainly is not the finest piece of cinematic art in this genre, but a generation of kids and their parents who grew up watching respective icons Bugs Bunny, Bill Murray and Michael Jordan certainly will never forget them teaming up for this partially animated tour de force.
Produced by Ivan Reitman — who’d worked with Murray on “Stripes” and “Ghostbusters” in the ’80s — “Space Jam” provides a fantasy-based account of the period between Jordan’s first retirement from the NBA in 1993 and his triumphant return to the league to win the final three of his six league championships with the Chicago Bulls in 1995.
Jordan’s lone year playing minor league baseball with the White Sox organization is presented as the reason a group of unknowing aliens zap the skills from Patrick Ewing, Charles Barkley, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley to create the ringer team known as the Monstars, rather than steal them from the greatest player in hoops history.
Instead, Looney Tunes legends Bugs and Daffy Duck recruit — OK, kidnap — Michael from a golf game with Murray, Larry Bird and Wayne Knight (Newman from Seinfeld) — to help them win a basketball game against the Monstars to escape enslavement by evil Mr. Swackhammer (voiced by Danny DeVito) as attractions at his failing outer-space amusement park Moron Mountain.
“But I’m a baseball player now,” Jordan argues.
“Right, and I’m a Shakespearean actor,” Bugs Bunny replies.
Of course, Jordan and his cartoon teammates pull off a second-half comeback to emerge victorious after he and Bugs convince Porky Pig, Yosemite Sam, Lola Bunny, etc., to drink “Michael’s Secret Stuff,” a placebo-effect bottle of water.
(Note: The sequel starring LeBron James — 25 years later — is due out in July 2021.)
Quote of Note: “Whoa, whoa, whoa! I didn’t know Dan Aykroyd was in this picture!” Mr. Swackhammer when Bill Murray enters the game against the Monstars.
Botte Blows: 3.75 of 5