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LeBron James, Lowell Ganz And Babaloo Mandel: Together At Last!

Beaks here...

Dr. J had THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH, Michael Jordan had SPACE JAM, and Shaquille O'Neal had BLUE CHIPS... then KAZAAM... then STEEL... then the Congressional Medal of Honor. And now LeBron James, the Hitchcock of the Hardwood, will have FANTASY BASKETBALL CAMP, a Brian Grazer-produced comedy to be scripted by the hip-and-now Lowell Ganz and Babaloo Mandel. According to Variety, the film will center on the antics of "five guys from different backgrounds" who head out to Las Vegas to attend the LeBron James Fantasy Basketball Camp. Once there, they inexplicably get comfortable enough with the once and future MVP to start bothering him with their serious/silly personal travails. In other words, it's CITY SLICKERS for hoops fans with LeBron playing the Jack Palance role. I hate myself for not thinking of this first. In case you were born in the '80s (like LeBron), you might not know that Ganz and Mandel were once the hottest comedy writing duo in Hollywood. They were Ron Howard's go-to collaborators (penning NIGHT SHIFT, SPLASH, GUNG HO and PARENTHOOD), and peaked commercially in the early '90s with CITY SLICKERS and A LEAGUE OF THEIR OWN. And while they haven't knocked out anything up to the level of those fine films in eighteen years or so, they also haven't been writing for LeBron James. And if LeBron can get Drew Gooden to the NBA Finals, he can damn well get Ganz and Mandel back to the top of the box office. No director has been announced yet (presumably because they're still hammering out Michael Haneke's deal), but they've got plenty of time to figure that out as the film isn't expected to go before cameras until summer 2010. James will executive produce along with his business partner Maverick Carter. In other James movie news, he'll be appearing as himself in the Kris Belman-directed documentary MORE THAN A GAME, which opens theatrically in New York, LA, Akron and Cleveland on October 2nd. (For the record, the most memorable appearance by a professional basketball player in a Hollywood film is easily Kareem Abdul-Jabbar in AIRPLANE!. Second place: Meadowlark Lemon in Albert Brooks's MODERN ROMANCE.)

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