LEBRON JAMES

LeBron releases first sneak-peak photos of new Space Jam movie

Ahead of Space Jam: A New Legacy's release in July, LeBron James gave fans a tiny taste of what's in store with some first-look photos.

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LeBron releases first sneak-peak photos of new Space Jam movie
Kirby Lee USA TODAY Sports

LeBron James has released a series of first-look photos from Space Jam: A New Legacy, the hotly anticipated follow-up to the original Space Jam movie starring Michael Jordan that was released 25 years ago in 1996.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is set to hit cinemas on 16 July (coinciding with a release on HBO Max) and ahead of its release, James revealed the sneak-peak images as part an exclusive interview with Entertainment Weekly, in which he opened up at length about the project for the first time.

LeBron talks Space Jam: A New Legacy

"It's one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game, I've ever played in," the LA Lakers Star told EW. "The Goon Squad is probably the best team ever assembled in basketball history."

Produced by James and Black Panther director Ryan Coogler, Space Jam: A New Legacy will be one of the first films to welcome movie-goers back to theaters this summer. Like Jordan 25 years ago, LeBron will be joined by Bugs Bunny, as well as Lola Bunny, Tweety, Daffy Duck and Taz.

The Lakers small forward was originally approached about doing a Space Jam movie 15 years ago but decided to pass up the opportunity at the time, admitting: "I didn't think I was ready to do anything of that magnitude. I wanted to continue to focus on my game and give it as much as I could."

But after several TV appearances, his big screen break in 2015 romcom Trainwreck, starring Amy Schumer, as well as his incredible achievements on the court, James felt he was ready to step into idol Michael Jordan’s shoes, with the New Legacy project given the official go-ahead in 2016.

"In my younger days, part of my thinking was 'Space Jam was so good, how can I top this?" James told EW. "There's always going to be conversations about LeBron trying to do everything Michael [did]. But I've gotten older, and you know who you are. You know what you stand for."

Don Cheadle impressed by LeBron’s acting skills

Filmed over the last two NBA off-seasons, New Legacy also features big screen veteran Don Cheadle, who was impressed by LeBron’s dedication, revealing to EW his co-star had "more acting to do" than Jordan did in the 1996 movie.

"We rehearsed a lot, running lines off to the side, discussing what these characters want, all the stuff you would do with any actor," said Cheadle, who plays A.I. G Rhythm in the movie. "At one point I was like, 'You know you can be much more of a diva than you're being right now?' "

Of course New Legacy has a lot to live up to considering the cultural phenomenon that was the first Space Jam movie. But according to director Malcom D. Lee, Space Jam: A New Legacy is a better movie than Space Jam. LeBron's got that going for him.” However audiences and critics (and perhaps Michael Jordan himself) will be the real judges of that when the Space Jam: A New Legacy movie hits theaters and HBO max in July.