Warning: This article contains major spoilers for "Space Jam: A New Legacy."
At its heart is a clash not in basketball like the original movie, but in "Dom Ball," an NBA Jam-esque video game developed by Dominic James, the fictional son of LeBron James. The two sides: the LeBron-led Tune Squad and the Goon Squad, a group of digital players created by a video analysis of five NBA and WNBA All-Stars and imbued with supernatural powers by the villainous Al-G Rhythm (played by Don Cheadle).
If the above paragraph doesn't give you enough of a sense that we are dealing with a bizarre game, then maybe the box score will.
Just as Wired compiled an utterly demented box score for the original "Space Jam," Yahoo Sports decided to take a close look at all of the basketball action of "Space Jam: A New Legacy" and count up what we could. Here's how that ended up working out.
Of course, we should probably note that we had to fill in a few blanks at certain points.
What we don't know about 'Space Jam' stats
In the interest of academic rigor, we will mention some uncertainties that popped up in this very serious attempt at documenting every point, assist, rebound and turnover in this children's movie.
The first thing that should be noted is that some of the Goon Squad's scoring is tantamount to a guess. The scoring of Damian Lillard, Diana Taurasi and Al-G is fairly definitive — the points added after their baskets are clearly shown — but it's hard to be certain about Nneka Ogwumike and the younger James. With Ogwumike, her repeated dunks were shown as having added 56 points to the score when last shown, but she continued dunking after that (we counted out four more).
The bigger problem, though, is that the scoring just doesn't make sense in the first half. With 2:39 remaining in the second quarter, the score is shown as Goons 1,039, Tunes 37. Up to that point, only four Goon Squad baskets have been show. We know how much Taurasi's dunk (16 points) and the first Dom basket (33 points) were worth, which means either that Ogwumike's multi-dunk and the second Dom basket, a layup, added up to 703 points or the Goons scored some baskets that weren't shown (entirely possible, Ogwumike was seen trampling Tweety Bird on offense with no basket shown). We decided to simply count what we saw from Ogwumike and give the rest to Dom. We can only work with what we're shown.
The good news is that all of the Tunes' baskets added up, so those are much more precise. The basketballs shot out of Wile E. Coyote's cannon with Roadrunner pressing the button were counted as Roadrunner field goals and one Coyote assist, and we divided by three to figure out how many field-goal attempts should be counted.
We made some other executive decisions, as well. Davis' own basket, caused by the Tazmanian Devil, was scored as a made field goal for Bugs Bunny, who appeared to be the closest Tunes player to the hoop at the time. Lola Bunny's jump shot at the end was counted because it was added to the scoreboard, only for Al-G to remove it afterward (this is why the Tunes' points add up to 1,044 rather than their final total of 1,042).
Some statistical notes about 'Space Jam: A New Legacy'
Here are some more oddities that pop up when you take a closer look at the basketball action of "Space Jam: A New Legacy."
The Goon Squad blew a 1,039-37 halftime lead, scoring only two points in the entire second half. What's more, their only two second-half points came on their final possession of the game, which means we're talking about a 23-minute scoring drought.
Al-G Rhythm appears to be an extremely bad choice to coach a basketball game, both because his team of All-Stars managed to squander a four-digit lead and that he apparently just doesn't know how basketball works. The guy dropped the Vince Carter "It's over" after his only basket of the game, when his team was up by one with 10 seconds left. It was not over.
If you only count baskets the Tunes actually made with their own hands (no machines, own baskets or rap battles), their leading scorer was ... Tweety Bird.
The "Dame Time" possession at the end of the first half took 2:39 of game time, judging from the scoreboard.
Sylvester the cat is by far the worst basketball player on the Looney Tunes. He dropped a trillion in this game (he was shown playing with no stats discernibly registered) and that was an improvement from the first game, in which he turned the ball over twice with no positive stats added. To the Tunes' credit, they seemed to realize that early, as he wasn't shown on the court for the entire second half after starting.
If Dom James' scoring total is to be trusted (it's not), 672 points on two field-goal attempts with no free-throw attempts calculates out to a true shooting percentage of 16,800 percent.
There was one rebound in the entire game — James catching Bugs' airball at the end — which is one more than the first movie.
The combined shooting between both teams: 220-of-224, or 98%. Amazingly, that's also a downgrade from the first movie, in which literally every field-goal attempt shown (nearly all dunks) was made.
LeBron was the fifth-leading scorer on his own team in a must-win game. What is this, the 2011 NBA Finals?
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