pace Jam was a 1996 movie starring basketball GOAT, Michael Jordan, and Looney Tunes GOAT, Bugs Bunny.
The highly plausible plot focuses on what Jordan did during his initial retirement from the NBA. He retired after his third consecutive championship against Charles Barkley’s Phoenix Suns in June 1993, and he came back on March 19, 1995.
This did not involve a lot of golf playing but did instead see Jordan enlisted by Looney Tunes to win their freedom in a basketball match against the Monstars.
The Monstars were working for Mr. Swackhammer, the owner of Moron Mountain amusement park, who wanted to keep the Looney Tunes characters enslaved as attractions.
Ahead of its time
Aside from joining two of the world’s greatest cultural icons, Space Jam grossed over $230 million at the box office, making it the highest-grossing basketball film of all time.
The film also featured an accompanying website which allowed users of the then-burgeoning World Wide Web to get a little closer to the movie and its characters.
In 1996, this was almost certainly pretty much-cutting edge stuff. Today it looks like s…something else.
Apart from the low-fi graphics and anti-intuitive layout, the colors are an issue and it doesn’t feature any sound.
Having said that, it is very detailed and a lot of time and effort clearly went into this back in the day.
For a little window into what the web looked like in 1996, it’s a pretty cool little visit to a perhaps sweeter and definitely more kitsch time.
Once you’ve got your fix of nostalgia out of the way, however, there isn’t all that much to look at. Or there is, but it hurts your eyes.
A most interesting year
In these days of lockdown, it seems to be all the rage for people to digging out relics of the past to share with friends and family via Whatsapp or on social media.
Embarrassing photos from childhood. Dodgy haircuts from the 90s. Now is the time for all the truth to be told.
So while the Space Jam website is not all that to look at, it does give us an interesting snapshot of life back then.
As it does, it seemed interesting to take a closer look at what else was going on in 1996.
It turned out to be quite a lot.
Keeping with the basketball theme, and MJ. 1996 saw the Chicago Bulls, again led by Jordan, win a then-record 72 games in the regular season on their way to yet another NBA Championship.
In sadder news for Michael Jordan, this was the year in which the killers of his father was convicted of murder.
In the NFL, another dynasty was taking place as the Dallas Cowboys led by Troy Aikman became the first franchise to win 3 Super Bowls in 4 seasons.
1996 was also an Olympic year with this one held in Atlanta. These festivities were worryingly interrupted by the detonation of pipe bombs that killed one person and injured 11. When the games were underway, Donovan Bailey set a world record on his way to 100-meter glory.
1996 was also the year that a certain standout collegiate star announced his entry into the world of professional golf. Tiger Woods would go on to rewrite the history books of the entire game.
And The Yankees won the World Series.
In the news
1996 was the year that the Menendez brothers were convicted of the first-degree murder of their parents. It was also the year in which the Unabomber, Theodore Kaczynski, was arrested at his hideout in Montana.
A Paris bound 747 exploded just off Long Island, killing all 230 onboard.
Bill Clinton was re-elected President of the United States.
Osama bin Laden wrote a declaration calling for the removal of all American forces from Saudi Arabia.
Mother Teresa received honorary American citizenship.
Tupac Shakur was killed.
The Nintendo 64 was released in America.
And the popular Anime Dragonball Z ended its original run in Japan.
So Space Jam is not a great website, but 1996 was a very notable year indeed.