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LeBron James said during his ‘Space Jam 2’ pitch meeting that he wouldn’t do the movie if it didn’t have ‘the right soundtrack’

LeBron James knows that part of the key to the first “Space Jam” was its iconic soundtrack, and right from the jump, the Lakers star wanted to make sure his upcoming follow-up had the right music.

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Graphic via Zain Fahimullah / Silver Screen and Roll

The movie tentatively known as “Space Jam 2” — even though it’s not billing itself as a sequel — is still set to hit its June 2021 release date, according to the movie’s star, Lakers forward LeBron James.

But aside from that and a few other limited details, there still isn’t much we know about the movie. It’s plot, beyond featuring James, the Looney Tunes and other NBA and WNBA stars, is a mystery. It seems safe to guess that it will feature the Monstars trying to steal the players’ talent and James having to save them with a rag-tag group of cartoon friends in a basketball game, but we don’t know for sure.

The 1996 classic starring Michael Jordan, isn’t just a source of such nostalgia among basketball fans because of the plot or the characters, though. One of the defining characteristics of that film was its soundtrack. Featuring songs like “Fly Like an Eagle” and “That’s the Way (I Like It),” among others, the soundtrack perfectly fit the film and helped elevate the material in a natural way.

James is aware of that, and he said on the “Road Trippin” podcast with Richard Jefferson, Allie Clifton and Channing Frye that making sure his movie has the right music was one of his top priorities:

“One of the first things I said when I was in my pitch meeting to do the movie, I was like ‘listen, I love the movie and what it stood for back in the day, but the soundtrack alone... if we don’t get the right soundtrack, I don’t want to be a part of it, because that really drove the movie as well,’” James said.

“It was an unbeliveable thing, like listening to that Seal song? ‘I wanna fly like an eagle, to the sea,’” James sang. “That was my thing right there, ‘fly like an eagle let my spirit...’

Given that everyone is currently quarantined and looking for something to be excited about, Clifton asked James — who had previously said in the show that he wished he could drop “Space Jam 2” right now — if he could release the track list. James declined, because he thinks it’s important for those reveals to be a part of watching the movie for the first time:

“Noooo. The soundtrack, once we start putting out some promos, a couple clips here, we’ll start releasing a little bit of the songs and things that go with it, but the heavy hitters, we’re going to keep until the movie, and you’ll start hearing it as the movie is going on and then at the end, when the credits come out, you’ll see the track list and things of that nature. We got some things coming.

“My ear for music, I love music, I post music every day, I love music, all types of genres, love it. If I don’t have a dope soundtrack for Space Jam 2, it’s like, ‘what the hell am I here for?’”

Anyone who follows James on Instagram knows he isn’t kidding about posting music every day, as his stories frequently feature salt-grain sized dashes to indicate how many posts he’s added to them, often of him signing along with a new album or just music he’s feeling that week. James also served as the A&R for the latest 2 Chainz album, which both shows his previous experience in this area, as well as offers a possible hint at one artist who could plausibly be featured on the eventual “Space Jam 2” track list.

Who do you think is going to be featured? Are there any songs you’d definitely like to see? Let us know in the comments below.

For more Lakers talk, subscribe to the Silver Screen and Roll podcast feed on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Podcasts. You can follow Harrison on Twitter at @hmfaigen.