New Orleans rapper Big Freedia in a pair of Space Jam-themed Nike sneakers at the film’s LA premiere (Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
THE ETCS

“Space Jam” is Only the Beginning for the Nike-Warner Bros. Partnership

It started with a TV ad for the Jordan 7s almost 30 years ago. Now, it’s an entire ecosystem of apparel and entertainment.

On the latest episode of Boardroom’s “The ETCs: Locked In,” Eddie Gonzalez marks the much-anticipated release of Space Jam: A New Legacy with an exploration of the film’s most important team-up.

It’s not LeBron James and the Tune Squad. It’s Nike and Warner Bros.

Nike has always had the imagination to push boundaries and do things other brands might not be willing to do. And their imagination is best encompassed by their affiliation with Warner Bros.

The earliest traces of Nike and Looney Tunes coming together for a collaboration were the Air Jordan 7s, first released back in 1991. They were promoted with a live-action commercial featuring Bugs Bunny and Michael Jordan in which Bugs wore an animated pair of “Hare Jordan” 7s, while Mike wore the customary Air Jordans.

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Mike famously asked, “Who’d you expect? Elmer Fudd?” before he and Bugs took on a team of basketball foes on the court, leaving them seeing stars. On the way out the gym, Bugs prophetically proclaimed, “This could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

And it was.

Space Jam: A New Legacy is in theaters now and streaming on HBO Max.

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