LeBron James, Movie Mogul? Basketball Star Inks Deal with Warner Bros.


LeBron James and Judd Apatow on the set of Trainwreck
Universal Pictures

LeBron James‘ performance in Trainwreck, Judd Apatow‘s new comedy starring Amy Schumer, was far and away my favorite aspect of the film, even if James was only playing an enhanced version of himself. At 6-foot-8 he is a natural physical presence, and the guy has a lot of charisma, oodles of charm and an impressive knack for comedy. As mixed as I am on LeBron the basketball player, I am definitely on board with LeBron the actor.

Much to my delight — as well as the delight of others who liked his performance and all the true LeBron fans out there — we could very well be seeing King James on screen again soon. According to ESPN, LeBron’s SpringHill Entertainment just inked a deal with Warner Bros. that includes plans for future films, television series and original digital programming. Warner Bros. President and CEO Kevin Tsujihara issued the following statement alongside the announcement:

“LeBron James has one of the most powerful, well-known brands in the world, and we are excited to be in business with him and his partner, Maverick Carter, and SpringHill Entertainment. The combination of LeBron’s global media presence and Warner Bros.’ unmatched production and distribution expertise is a big win for fans everywhere.”

LeBron’s SpringHill shingle has already produced a television series (“Becoming“), an online reality show (“Uninterrupted“) and a scripted Starz drama (“Survivor’s Remorse“), and it has a prime-time game show for NBC currently in the works. James certainly won’t be starring in everything SpringHill and Warners churn out, but he has spoken at length about his love for movies and television and his desire to set himself up for a life after basketball. If nothing else, this partnership accomplishes that goal.

Of obvious note here is the fact that Warners is the studio responsible for Space Jam, the movie in which Michael Jordan lines up alongside a cast of misfits and “Looney Tunes” characters — together, the Tune Squad — to take down a roster of gigantic aliens (the Monstars) aided by talents they stole from Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Charles Barkley, Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley. I’ve always been curious how they came up with that crew to steal powers from, given Bogues and Bradley were far from the best at their positions during that time and two of the other three are power forwards, but whatever, it works in the movie.

Anyways, with LeBron now partnered with Warners, the web seems to be clamoring yet again for a Space Jam 2, with King James taking over for Jordan in the lead role. Furthermore ESPN notes Warners filed several new Space Jam-related trademarks last month, indicating a sequel or reboot could in fact be on the horizon.

Social media is rife with Space Jam 2 speculation, but if Trainwreck is any indication of his abilities I’d be far more inclined to watch Bron Bron in something that doesn’t involve showing off his basketball talents. Assuming his teams keep making deep runs into the playoffs for years to come, I can watch that some 100 times every season if I want, but a performance like LeBron’s in Trainwreck is a rarer beauty. Hopefully there are more like it down the road.