“I’ll Stick to Thirty-Second Commercials”: Before $400 Million Success, Michael Jordan Was Doubtful About His Role in ‘Space Jam’

Adit Pujari
|Published 19/03/2023

In the 90s, Michael Jordan was one of the biggest brands in the world. His fame was at the pinnacle. No athlete in the world could dream of competing against MJ’s popularity. The 6-time NBA Champion’s dominance in the NBA was already unparalleled. But his on-court success also ensured his off-court success.

Jordan was a blessing for endorsers. Every commercial he undertook, every endorsement was an immediate hit. Naturally, MJ made the jump from commercials to Hollywood. Warner Bros produced Space Jam and cast Michael Jordan as himself. While the entire world was really excited about the project, MJ was pretty nervous. He wasn’t as confident in his acting skills and even though he could only do 30-second commercials.

Michael Jordan was nervous about Space Jam

Before the release of Space Jam, Jordan was anxious about his first feature movie. In his book Michael Jordan: The Life, Roland Lazenby wrote of Michael’s anxiety before the release of the film. In his own words, Jordan claimed he was worried if the movie would perform well or not. The biggest concern MJ had was that Warner Bros had invested a lot of money in the project. Space Jam’s failure also meant huge financial losses for the studio.

Roland Lazenby Wrote:”The premiere of Space Jam, Jordan’s animated film with Bugs Bunny, was also in the mix. “I think it’s gonna do fine,” he said. “But I’m very nervous about it. This is a whole new arena for me, but it’s just been a lot of money invested in me, and hopefully I did my part. I tried to do it the best I could, and if it’s good… great. I may do it again. If it’s not, certainly I’ll know where I stand in that career. I’ll stick to the thirty-second commercials.””

Space Jam made $400 million

Fortunately for Jordan, Space Jam was a huge success. It reached heights of popularity and put Jordan into another stratosphere. The film was also a huge commercial success. It ended up making $400 million. Roland Lazenby also detailed the success of the movie in his book. He wrote:

“The film would eventually rake in $400 million, a towering success, prompting David Falk to urge Jordan to do another, but by then he had changed his mind and would turn down all offers over the ensuing year.”

Though, despite all the success of Space Jam, Michael never acted in another feature film. Though, the Netflix Documentary the Last Dance majorly focused on Michael Jordan. And, without any surprise, it ended up being immensely successful as well.

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About the author
Adit Pujari

Adit Pujari

Adit Pujari is an NBA Content Manager at The SportsRush. He formerly worked as a debate and writing trainer. An avid fan of Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers, Adit began following the sport in 2007. With the Lakers and Boston Celtics rivalry ripe, Adit found himself hooked on the sport immediately. Having followed NBA for 15 years, he decided to use his knowledge base as a sports writer in 2021. Since then, he has worked as an NBA writer, led a team of MLB writers, and has now joined The SportsRush. In his spare time, Adit loves playing basketball and climbing Himalayan peaks and passes. He has also authored a poetry book.

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