In his clever Space Jam 2 cameo, Michael B. Jordan delivers a pep talk that’s reminiscent of Friday Night Lights, which he acted in for two seasons.
In a humorous misunderstanding, actor Michael B. Jordan ends up surprising the Looney Tunes gang in Warner Bros.’ Space Jam: A New Legacy, and his cameo actually connects to his time on the show Friday Night Lights. Twenty-five years after the release of Space Jam, the sequel premiered in July 2021 with a theatrical release along with streaming availability on HBO Max. Prior to the film, fans wondered if NBA legend Michael Jordan – who starred in the first film – would make another appearance in Space Jam: A New Legacy. But LeBron James had the starring role, and the “Michael Jordan” cameo that did happen wasn’t what anyone expected.
Instead of the basketball player, Creed and Black Panther actor Michael B. Jordan came on-screen. During halftime of the big game as the discouraged Tune Squad gathered in the locker room and talked with James, Sylvester the Cat appeared and said he found Michael Jordan in the audience. After the hype was drawn out, the gang was shocked to see Michael B. Jordan stepping into the room. His arrival was a letdown for the characters, but audiences likely found the mix-up to be one of the film’s funniest moments.
As great as the cameo already was, one of Jordan’s lines during his Space Jam 2 scene was actually a Friday Night Lights Easter egg. He attempted to redeem his unwelcome appearance by offering a quick pep talk to the Tune Squad and delivered the phrase “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” This was, of course, a reference to the iconic football chant based on a Coach Taylor (Kyle Chandler) pep talk from the drama series, which Jordan knows all too well. He played the character Vince Howard, a troublemaker with a difficult family life who joined the new East Dillon football program, in seasons 4 and 5 of Friday Night Lights.
This quote was a sweet homage to the relationship that Vince had with Coach Taylor throughout the show. Vince joined the East Dillon team under Coach Taylor’s guidance and grew into a leader, even getting the chance to become the quarterback. It’s clear that Coach Taylor had a positive impact on Vince’s life. Like the advice and the pep talks that Taylor gave Vince and gave all the players, Jordan was able to replicate that in his Space Jam 2 cameo. Even if it wasn’t the most well-received pick-me-up based on James and the Tune Squad’s reactions, it was a clever reference to part of the beginning of Jordan’s career as an actor.
Of course, this Friday Night Lights Easter egg isn’t the only reference to another show or a movie in Space Jam 2. In their attempts to recruit the Tunes before the game, James and Bugs Bunny (Jeff Bergman) travel to different worlds from other Warner Bros. works like The Matrix, Casablanca, and Mad Max: Fury Road. The film also includes countless appearances from characters like the titular duo from Rick & Morty, Lord Voldemort from Harry Potter, the Scooby-Doo gang, King Kong, and many more. However, Jordan’s cameo will remain unparalleled in terms of the reveal and the humor.
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