Space Jam: A New Legacy shows LeBron James as a family man, trying to be the best dad he can to his three kids. And because of the depiction of James’ home life seems so similar to reality — James does have three kids of roughly the same age, and has been married to wife Savannah James since 2013 — fans might be wondering if his actual family members play themselves onscreen.
But, just like the original Space Jam with Michael Jordan, James’ wife and children are played by actors. (Which, if you think about it, does make more sense than forcing your own family to work on your film.) But there are still plenty of similarities between James’ real clan and the characters in the film. So who plays James’ family, and what do they have in common with the fictional Jameses?
LeBron James’ real family isn’t in the film.
In real life, James does have three kids with his wife Savannah, his high school sweetheart: Zhuri Nova James (6), Bryce Maximus James (14), and LeBron "Bronny" James Jr. (16) — who plays basketball and is also an avid gamer. His family in the film mirrors his real one: Sonequa Martin-Green plays James’ wife Kamiyah; Harper Leigh Alexander plays his young daughter Xosha; Cedric Joe plays James’ middle child Dom, an expert coder; and Ceyair J. Wright plays his older son Darius, who loves basketball.
James has explained that even though his Space Jam character is a semi-fictionalized version of himself, the love he shows for his onscreen family is very real. "My character is me. I'm playing LeBron James, but what people are going to see ... [is] my compassion for my kids and listening to my kids, one in particular. Understanding that even though I have my own dreams of what I want my kid to be, they also have their own dreams and I have to listen to that.”
And though they’re not in Space Jam, the James family still seems very supportive of the project. Zhuri and Savannah attended the premiere with James. Cedric Joe also told Entertainment Weekly that James’ son Bronny visited him on set. To improve his own performance, he observed their dynamic and mannerisms: “how he communicated with his dad ... and how they bonded and how they were close. It was more physical and less verbal, just watching.”
Was Michael Jordan’s family in the original?
In the 1996 film, Jordan’s family was also played by actors — but, unlike in the reboot, they kept real names of Jordan’s wife and children. Theresa Randle played Juanita Jordan, his wife at the time; Manner Washington played Jeffrey Jordan; Eric Gordon played Marcus Jordan; and Penny Bae Bridges played Jasmine Jordan.
In reality, Jordan’s sons Marcus and Jeffrey did play basketball, and the latter went on to work for the Jordan brand at Nike. Jasmine, Jordan’s youngest with his ex, also works on the Jordan brand. (Jordan also has 7-year-old twins with wife Ysabel Jordan.)