Space Jam: Where Are They Now?
I think we can all agree that Space Jam, which stars a retired Michael Jordan who must return to basketball in order to help save the cast of Looney Tunes from getting kidnapped by aliens, is one of the weirdest movies of all time. Which is why the latest batch of rumors about possible Space Jam 2 starring LeBron James is just so exciting—could lightning strike twice with this nutso premise? And if it does, is it going to comically singe Daffy Duck’s feathers in exactly the same way?
But it’s been twenty years since that first movie fueled our obsession with R. Kelly and the Quad City DJ’s. What have all the amazing NBA players, actors, and cartoon characters of the original Space Jam movie been up to since 1996? Let’s take a look back:
Surprisingly, Jordan’s acting career did NOT take off after the release of Space Jam. In the meantime, he also retired from basketball AGAIN in 1999, became part owner and President of Basketball Operations for the Washington Wizards, and then came out of retirement from 2001 to 2003 to play for the Wizards. After that he took over the majority ownership of the Charlotte Bobcats, changing the team’s name back to the Hornets in 2014. Last year he and his wife, Yvette Prieto, welcomed a set of twins into their family.
Bill Murray, on the other hand, kept up with the whole entertainment business thing — since his appearance in Space Jam he’s also starred in basically every single movie Wes Anderson has made from 1998 onward, and won a Golden Globe for Lost in Translation. He also recently crashed San Diego Comic-Con’s Hall H to promote his latest film, Rock The Kasbah.
Knight, himself continued to appear as Newman in Seinfeld until the show ended in 1998, and as Officer Don in 3rd Rock from the Sun until 2001. For a while he mostly did voiceover work and guest appearances until 2011, when he had a recurring role in Torchwood: Miracle Day and began appearing on the TV land show The Exes, which is now on its fourth seaso. Oh, and he was Al the toy collector in Toy Story 2!
Like Mike, Larry Bird’s acting career never went beyond Space Jam—but unlike Jordan, he was already retired by the time the movie came out in ’96. In 1997 he became coach of the Indiana Pacers and led the team to two Central Division titles, then became the team’s Pacers’ President of Basketball Operations in 2003. He’s the only basketball player to ever be named MVP, Coach of the Year, and Executive of the Year in the NBA.
Barkley retired from basketball in 2000 and became a studio analyst for TNT’s NBA pre-game and halftime show coverage. He also never stopped acting, appearing regularly in the animated Clerks TV show, on The Bernie Mac Show, in the movie Thunderstuck, and as the host of Saturday Night Live in 2012. He’s also a spokesperson for Weight Watchers.
Ewing—who was the Angel of Death in the 1990 film Exorcist III, BTW—played himself in a 1997 episode of Spin City and then in the Marlon Wayans movie Senseless. He also appeared in a 2009 Snickers commercial where he dunks so hard on a guy eating a Snickers that he breaks the entire hoop. He spent 15 years with the New York Knicks until being transferred to the Seattle SuperSonics, and then retired in 2002. His son is also a professional basketball player for the NBA, too.
Bogues had a number of acting cameos after Space Jam, including Juwanna Mann, Curb Your Enthusiasm, and Royal Pains. After leaving the NBA in 1998, he worked in the Real Estate business until 2005 when he took a position coaching the Charlotte Sting in the WNBA. Currently he’s the coach of the United Faith Christian Academy boys’s basketball team, and he’s STILL the shortest player in NBA history.
After playing for the Charlotte Hornets for years, Johnson retired early from the New York Knicks in 2001, citing back problems. Since then he converted to Islam, received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Social Science Studies from the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, and currently works as a basketball and business operations representative for the Knicks. He hasn’t acted since Space Jam, though he DID have a guest appearance as Steve Urkel’s grandma on Family Matters in 1993.
One of the tallest basketball players in NBA history, 7’6″ Bradley appeared as himself in Walker Texas Ranger and had a cameo in The Singles Ward. He left the NBA in 2005 and ran as a Republican for the Utah Hosue of Representatives in 2010, but lost. He still holds the Utah state records for blocked shots in a single game, season, and career.
Bugs Bunny (Billy West)
Billy West basically does voices for every cartoon character you’ve ever loved—like Fry, Zaph Brannigan, and Zoidberg from Futurama, both Ren AND Stimpy, and the original Doug Funnie from Doug. You can also see him in I Know That Voice a documentary about voiceover actors.
Daffy Duck (Dee Bradley Baker)
Just like West, Baker’s a voiceover champion—in adition to playing Daffy Duck he’s also the clone troopers in Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels, Klaus Heissler the goldfish in American Dad, and Waddles from Gravity Falls. Oh, and he’s in I Know That Voice too, of course.
Lola Bunny (Kath Soucie)
Lola was created for the Space Jam movie and has since become a semi-regular part of the Looney Tunes canon. She was originally played by Kath Soucie, a talented voiceover actor who you might also know as Lil and Phil from Rugrats, the mom from Dexter’s Lab, Helga’s mother in Hey Arnold, and more recently as Maketh Tua in Star Wars Rebels. Lola was also recently played by Kristen Wiig in the The Looney Tunes Show on Cartoon Network.
Yup, Danny Devito was in this movie too—he played the role of the evil alien Swackhammer. A year after Space Jam he played Phil in Hercules, and has since done…well, too many movies to name. You can see him regularly on It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia”.