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DAILY NEWS COLUMNIST

John Smallwood has been with the Daily News since 1994. He began as the beat writer for Villanova University basketball and was promoted to columnist in 1995. He has won several awards while covering almost every major sporting event, including the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Finals, Final Four, World Cup and Olympics.

Who knew that the biggest drama in the NBA playoffs would not be when the reigning champion Golden State Warriors will get MVP Stephen Curry back from injury; whether the San Antonio Spurs can squeeze one more ring out of Tim Duncan, or whether the Oklahoma City Thunder can finally win a title and convince Kevin Durant to stay beyond this season?

It’s not surprising that LeBron James headlines the biggest mystery of the playoffs, just that it is not about whether he can bring the title to championship-starved Cleveland.

What inquiring minds truly want to know is if “King James” is going to replace Michael Jordan as the lead in the rumored sequel to “Space Jam.”

In his ever-expanding and evolving business world, James is again rumored to be talking with Warner Bros. to bring back the Looney Tunes gang for an intergalactic basketball rematch with the Monstars from Moron Mountain.

“I have a great team that handles my affairs off the floor, ” James told Fox Sports Ohio when asked about a Space Jam sequel. “Since I signed with Warner Bros., we’ve been looking to do some things that might fit both sides.

“But my team’s handling that and I’m not going to take my focus off what my job is right now, which is handling the postseason right now.”

Justin Lin, who directed “Fast & Furious, " is said to be in talks to co-write with plans to produce and direct.

For those who do not remember or perhaps do not care to remember, "Space Jam" was the 1996 live-action/animated movie in which Bugs Bunny convinced a retired Jordan to join him, Daffy Duck, Porky Pig, Lola Bunny and others in a basketball game for their freedom.

Their opponents – the Monstars – are infused with the stolen talents of then-NBA stars Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson and Muggsy Bogues plus 76ers center Shawn Bradley.

Notably, all of the players with the exception of Johnson were clients of Jordan’s agent David Falk, who served as executive producer for the movie.

Typical cartoon gags by the Looney Tunes and dirty play by the Monstars make it a one-point game in the closing seconds. Jordan wins it at the buzzer by using the laws of cartoon physics to stretch his arm an incredible length for a dunk.

Appealing to kids for a box office of $230.4 million, “Space Jam” tops “Blue Chips” and “The Fish that Saved Pittsburgh” as the highest grossing basketball film of all time.

The movie’s primary song, ‘I Believe I Can Fly” by R. Kelly, won a 1997 Grammy Award.

In the end, everyone ends up happy with the exception of Sixers fans who soon realized that Bradley was the only player whose NBA skills were not returned to him at the conclusion of the movie.



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