first looks

The Space Jam Sequel Will Send LeBron James Through the Warner Bros. Film Archive

Squad goals. Photo: Entertainment Weekly

The basketball statisticians down at the barbershop are gonna get into over this one. Who wins between LeBron James … and a “CGI humanoid” played by Don Cheadle? Anything to stop the “MVP” debates, James’s next big game is against the Goon Squad in the long-awaited Space Jam sequel, A New Legacy. “It’s one of the biggest games, if not the biggest game, I’ve ever played in,” James told Entertainment Weekly in a new cover story, complete with a first look. “The Goon Squad is probably the best team ever assembled in basketball history.” The 36-year-old steps into Michael Jordan’s Jordans (presumably) in the animation–live-action hybrid, but this time he’s the one who needs help from the Looney Tunes squad.

Playing an exaggerated version of himself, James and his tech-wiz son (Cedric Joe) are sucked into the Warner 3000 entertainment “Server-verse” by a disgruntled AI, Al G Rhythm (Don Cheadle), who wants to steal James’s social-media followers. Seems like it’d be an easy trade, but, alas, in order to escape, James rounds up Bugs, Lola Bunny, Daffy Duck, Tweety, and the rest of the gang to take down the Goon Squad. As he searches for them across the servers, he gets lost in some familiar films. “It was a tricky thing just in terms of what you may want, like, ‘Oh my God, look, there’s Mad Max, and there’s Casablanca!’” director Malcolm D. Lee told EW. James also teased The Matrix and Wonder Woman, but we won’t know until the fever dream hits July 16 on HBO Max and in theaters.