The New and Improved Monstars

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In quarantine these days the 1990s are seemingly cool again, and especially ’90s basketball. Everyone in the world is fawning all over Michael Jordan and the Bulls while watching each episode of The Last Dance like it’s the Super Bowl, and the logo for Space Jam 2 was just release. All of this Michael Jordan and Space Jam talk begs the question that’s been burning since the original movie’s release in 1996; were the Monstars really that intimidating?

The little aliens from Moron Mountain came to Earth and stole the talent from five NBA players: Charles Barkley, Patrick Ewing, Larry Johnson, Muggsy Bogues, and Shawn Bradley. Those five would make a formidable mid ’90s team, but doesn’t exactly strike fear in the hearts of the entire world, let alone Michael Jordan. Of the current Monstars only Sir Charles made an All-NBA team for the 1994-95 season in which the movie takes place (he was second team All-NBA). Barkley was also a Western Conference All-Star that season, with fellow Monstars Patrick Ewing and Larry Johnson being selected to the Eastern Conference team. Muggsy Bogues and Shawn Bradley came no where near any kind of accolades that season. You have to do better than that if you want to beat the greatest player of all-time. So let’s reset the roster and find the players who should have had their talent stolen and see if we can beat some cartoons, Michael Jordan, and Bill Murray at basketball. The only player we will keep from the original five-man roster is Charles Barkley, everyone else gets their mediocre talent back and our alien friends will have to find four more fitting players who are Monstar material.

The first player to be replaced is Shawn Bradley. He didn’t exactly wow any NBA fans in ’95. Bradley averaged 9.5 points, 8 rebounds, and 3.3 blocks per game over the season which is fine, but not quite what we’re looking for. Bradley gets replaced by Dikembe Mutombo. It would be fitting that a bunch of aliens hailing from Moron Mountain would steal the talent of the player nicknamed Mount Mutombo. The 7’2″ center from the Democratic Republic of the Congo averaged a double-double in ’95 putting up 11.5 points, snagging 12.5 boards, and leading the league in blocked shots with 3.9 a game. Mutombo grabbed All-Defensive second-team honors, oh and was named the Defensive Player of the Year in the NBA. Mutombo is a way better choice than lame-ass Shawn Bradley. The only thing cool about Shawn Bradley is that he is 7’6″. Mount Mutombo would be way more fun to watch swatting shots and giving Daffy Duck the patented finger wag afterwards. Can you imagine him hitting on Lola Bunny with the famous “who wants to sex Mutombo” pick-up line. Also imagine Michael Jordan bringing back the eyes closed free throw he mocked Mutombo with in 1991? This is already a way funnier movie and all that had to happen was kick Shawn Bradley to the curb.

Staying in the front-court, Patrick Ewing gets replaced with Shaquille O’Neal. As good as Ewing was in ’95, Shaq was way better. Shaq was an All-Star and made second-team All-NBA. The Big Diesel lead his Orlando Magic to the NBA Finals and even beat Jordan’s Bulls along the way. In just his third year in the league, Shaq was already the most dominant big man averaging 29.3 points and 11.4 rebounds a game. He was already one of the biggest personalities in the league too, and you know you’d love to see a cartoonized Shaq mix it up with Bugs Bunny and the gang. Also Shaq was on his way to becoming the most accomplished actor the NBA has ever seen. He had already been in Blue Chips the year before and Kazaam was released in 1996 a full four months before Space Jam. The last point that cements Shaq’s status as a true Monstar over Ewing is that Shaq never let Michael Jordan dunk his face off like Ewing famously did in the 1991 NBA Playoffs. A front-court with Shaq, Mutombo, and Barkley would be must see entertainment.

Now to the backcourt. Monstars fans, your new starting point guard, replacing Muggsy Bogues, is non-other than Gary Payton. The Glove was an all-star in the Western Conference and picked up second-team All-NBA honors. He is also know as one of the best “Michael Jordan stoppers” of the 1990s. He took his Sonics (RIP) to the finals the next season in ’96 and took the Bulls to six games, guarding Jordan for the last few and causing him to have one of the worst statistical NBA Finals of his career. GP would bring a hard edge to the new Monstars and wouldn’t let his teammates start showboating when the game became kind of one-sided in the first half. Payton was a first team All-Defensive selection in ’95 and you know he would mean mug the shit out of Tweety Bird. The trash talk between Payton and Bill Murray would be legendary.

Speaking of legendary trash talk, the last player to be added to the new Monstars is Reggie Miller, replacing Larry Johnson. Miller made the third-team All-NBA and would bring much needed outside shooting to the Monstars. Miller shot 41.5 percent from three in ’95 and would become the teams outside assassin. While everyone else clogs the lane and crashes the offensive boards, Reggie will just post up in the corner and wait for his teammates to kick the ball out for an easy spot-up three. Miller is also one of the greatest trash talkers in NBA history and would probably flash the choking sign in the direction of Wayne Knight on the bench. Apparently Wayne Knight is the Tune Squad’s Spike Lee, go figure.

So there you have your new Monstars, ready to take over the world with Charles Barkley, Dikembe Mutombo, Shaq, Gary Payton, and Reggie Miller. This new squad has all of the swagger in the world and will probably self-destruct by halftime. The new and improved Space Jam will definitely need to be rated R though because these guys will be dropping F bombs all over the place. Miller or Payton absolutely knockout Granny and start a benches clearing brawl at some point. There is also no way that Michael Jordan appears in this movie because he most likely hates at least three-fifths of the new players. The thing is, Jordan still probably wins this game. The only new Monstar to ever knock Jordan out of the playoffs was Shaq in ’95, and that’s the year Jordan un-retired and re-joined the Bulls for the last few weeks of the regular season and the playoffs, not exactly a straight-up win by any means. So after all of this jerking around, a new and improved Monstar roster, and a much different movie, Michael Jordan still wins and saves the world because Michael Jordan is Thanos, just the other way around, he is inevitable.

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