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We’ll talk about this later: Celebrity games and ‘Space Jam’

Your dose of lighthearted takes from this week’s happenings.

2023 NBA All Star - Ruffles Celebrity Game Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Each week, we’ll break down something that happened during the Ohio State game (and occasionally other games and events) that we’ll be talking about for a while—you know, the silly sideline interactions, the awful announcing and the weird storylines that stick with us for years to come. We’ll also compare each of these happenings to memorable moments in pop culture, because who doesn’t love a good Office reference?

Alas, we’re through football season. College basketball is meh (if you’re an Ohio State fan) and the NBA is on its All-Star break. We’re approaching the spring sports desert, when hoops and hockey aren’t quite approaching the playoff hype and we’re far enough from football’s kickoff that it feels like an eternity. So, we have to find our wins where we can.

Which leads us to NBA All-Star weekend. As is the case with many aspects of the NBA’s operations, the All-Star break is a well-rounded series of events that give the people what they want (see: dunk contest) while creating a spectacle (see: celebrity game).

Who doesn’t love a good celebrity game. In some ways, it’s cool to see professional athletes from other sports on the hardcourt. This year, DK Metcalf and Calvin Johnson graced the roster of celebrities. Plus, we get to see celebs from outside the sports arena which can be concurrently impressive and humbling.

Somehow, the 5-foot-2 Kevin Hart is better at hoops than we might have expected. This year, Janelle Monae, fresh off of Glass Onion, showed she can be a singer, actress and athlete.

But as great as the celebrity game can be, there’s one celebrity game that will top them all that is, of course, Space Jam — when the Toon Squad (headlined by Michael Jordan) defeated the Monstars in the battle royale to save Looney Toon Land. Jordan was, of course, a baseball player in the minors and his appearance (plus Bill Murray’s) made a really good celebrity game proxy — joined, of course, by Bugs Bunny and the rest of the toons.

We also got to see a set of the greatest players in the NBA at the time (plus Larry Bird). Seeing Charles Barkley getting shown up by, as he describes it, a five-foot-nothing girl never gets old.

Jordan is top of mind right now for many with Ben Affleck’s upcoming film, Air, about Nike’s pursuit of MJ for sneaker rights in the 1980s, but apparently the story might not have as much staying power with the younger generations: Just this weekend, a friend’s child asked me who Michael Jordan was while her dad and I debated who, between Jordan and LeBron James, is the GOAT.

Time to join AARP and get my Golden Buckeye card, I guess.