No Stephen Curry, James Harden in LeBron James' 'Space Jam 2'? That's shoe biz, report says

Sneakers play a factor because the original 1996 film was inspired by the "Hare Jordan" Nike commercial.

James Harden, right, and Stephen Curry   -  Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Several players already have turned down an opportunity to star in LeBron James' "Space Jam" sequel, claiming they don't want the movie to be a distraction to their training. However, a new report reveals there could be more to it than that. 

Warriors star Stephen Curry and Rockets star James Harden likely won't join James for the film because of concerns of a shoe rivalry, according to the Hollywood Reporter, which cited unidentified sources.

The sneakers play a factor because the original 1996 film was inspired and based on the "Hare Jordan" Nike commercial. Nike became an essential part of "Space Jam," which creates a problem for Curry and Harden because of their current shoe contracts. Curry has a deal with Under Armour through 2024, while Harden is under contract with Adidas until 2028.

The report also indicated that Golden State's Kevin Durant, who is a Nike endorser, won't be in the movie because of his own Hollywood venture that will be based on his life. He's working on launching an Apple series, called "Swagger."

The Hollywood Reporter notes another factor keeping NBA stars away from joining the cast: James' family life will be more of a focus for the movie, rather than a group of NBA players. The first "Space Jam" movie starred Michael Jordan and featured Larry Bird, Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley.

The report comes after Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo turned down a role because he didn't want to "give up two weeks of private workouts to train with his fellow stars."

"I don't like being Hollywood," Antetokounmpo said (per ESPN). "I don't like all this extra drama. I am just going to try to be me."

Despite the casting issue, "Space Jam 2" will continue on schedule and start filming in July after the NBA Finals. IMDB lists the movie with a 2021 release date.

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