NBA All-Star Weekend gets a ‘Space Jam’ live read by Hannibal Buress

The National Basketball Association‘s All-Star Weekend has become stale over the years, but one event might revitalize it: a live reading of Space Jam.

This year, prior to Saturday’s three-point shootout and dunk contest in Toronto, fans gathered at the Toronto International Film Festival to witness a reenactment of Space Jam, with comedian Hannibal Buress taking over the lead role of Michael Jordan.

Buress was joined on stage by YouTube and Vine star Jasmeet Singh, comedian Mark Little, NBA TV reporter Kristen Ledlow, Toronto film commissioner Zaib Shaikh, Vice personality Matt Matheson, and actors Lamar JohnsonKristian BruunEnnis Esmer, Keara Graves, and Tara Spencer-Nairn.

A trio of Toronto artists brought the show to life by sketching out scenes from the performance. Illustrators Dasha Zolota and Evan Munday gave Space Jam the animated touch it needed via Twitter.

It’s been 20 years since Space Jam debuted in theaters and, despite the lukewarm critical reception at the time, it has lived on as a cult classic for basketball and Looney Tunes fans alike. It’s been the subject of tributes and serious critiques, showing its strange staying power in pop culture. 

Rumors of a reboot, likely focused around LeBron James, have been swirling for some time now. Until then, fans will have to settle for live reads like the one in Toronto or the 2014 performance featuring Los Angeles Clippers star Blake Griffin and a cast of comedians.

Perhaps in future years, taking part in Space Jam live reads will be added as an official event for All-Star Weekend.

H/T Torontoist | Photo via Erin Nekervis/Flickr (CC BY SA 2.0)

AJ Dellinger

AJ Dellinger

AJ Dellinger is a seasoned technology writer whose work has appeared in Digital Trends, International Business Times, and Newsweek. In 2018, he joined Gizmodo as the nights and weekend editor.