Every Uncalled Foul: Space Jam

Space Jam FI

Every Uncalled Foul is a series in which I’ll watch a basketball movie and record every uncalled foul, citing what happened and how it specifically should have been called. Today’s feature: Space Jam

Foul 1, 27:21: The Green MonStar throws the ball so hard into the ground that it causes an earthquake around the toons. Technically they aren’t playing a game and there’s no ref, but it happened on the court so I say fair game. This is a sportsmanship technical as well as a fire hazard.

Foul 2, 27:36: The Green MonStar (apparently the leader?) pops the ball between his fingers. It’s really more of a dick move than a foul, an NBA ref would probably assume that it was an equipment malfunction more than anything, but at the very least it’s a delay of game. I also want to point out that the MonStars showed up at the court in the first place to practice, but as soon as they get a chance, they just pop the ball and leave. Plot hole. Maybe if they weren’t such glory boys and actually worked on their games they could’ve won.

Space Jam FI

Foul 3, 30:06: When Bugs uses a magnet to guide Michael’s golf ball into the hole, he violates golf’s rule (19-1) regarding outside agency. The exact wording of the rule is that “If a player’s ball in motion after a stroke on the putting green is deflected or stopped by, or comes to rest in or on any moving or animate outside agency, except a worm, insect or the like, the stroke is canceled. The ball must be replaced and replayed.” Technically, the ball didn’t come to rest on a moving or animate outside agency, but I would argue that by virtue of the magnet being guided by a moving animate object (Bugs), the rule would come into play. Accordingly, Michael should have to replay the hole.

Foul 4, 35:56: Not only does the orange MonStar commit a blatant flagrant foul by grabbing an opposing player and rolling him up into the shape of a ball, it should also be pointed out that the green Monstar’s eventual dunk would not have counted for two points in a regulation game, as Michael, though ball-shaped, is a human being and not an NBA-sanctioned basketball. The red MonStar, by the way, commits an obvious elbowing violation on Jordan when dribbling him as if were a ball.

Foul 5, 36:34: This one’s a judgment call, and would likely vary from ref to ref. Though it could be argued that the green MonStar commits a foul against Tweety Bird by flicking her into a wall, I would actually lean towards calling this a flopping violation and issuing Tweety Bird a fine in the $5,000 range. As small as she is, flying into a wall seems excessive for one flick. The MonStar does, after all, only have the physical capabilities of Larry Johnson (the player whose talent he absorbed), and I doubt Larry Johnson could flick a bird clear across an entire room.

Foul 6, 37:55: This is a judgment call that’s not subject to replay, and I’d imagine most refs would let them play through, but when the girl in the park blocks Charles Barkley’s shot there is at least an ounce of contact on his hand. It’s usually a no-call, but worth noting.

Foul 7, 40:08: During the Tune Squad tryout bit, Road Runner grabs the ball from Wile E. Coyote and races around the court, but never dribbles. This is an obvious traveling violation.

Foul 8, (same time) Yosemite Sam fires his pistols wildly into the air at least seven times. If we abide by the precedent of the Gilbert Arenas-Javaris Crittenton incident, bringing guns into the locker room alone is worth a month’s suspension. Sam would likely face a long-term suspension or even banishment from the league.

Foul 9, (same time): Foghorn Leghorn is clearly attempting to hit the Barnyard Dog with a two-by-four with a nail sticking out of it. But, due to the ruckus likely caused by Yosemite Sam’s firearms, this would likely go unnoticed in a regulation game.

Space Jam FI

Foul 10, 41:11: After Lola Bunny embarrasses Bugs on the court, she makes clear and intentional physical contact in grabbing his face and telling him not to call her “doll.” Aside from this being a foul, the sequence raises two important questions. First: how did Lola get good enough at basketball to do that in a world in which apparently no other characters had even played the game? And second, Bugs is clearly interested romantically in Lola, but they share the last name “Bunny.” Is this meant to imply that inbreeding is present in Looney Toon land? It seems a large number of Toons use their species as a last name, and if that’s the case, it could be argued that most of them are the products of inbreeding. This might explain their wacky powers.

Foul 11, 52:21: When Bugs is announced in the starting lineup, he burrows underneath the court and destroys a large section of it upon re-entering. This should cause a delay of game penalty.

Foul 12, 53:10: The entire MonStar team wears the number zero on their jerseys. This is a blatant uniform violation that makes it harder for referees to distinguish between players in calling fouls. By rule four of them should be forced to change into different uniforms.

Foul 13, 53:48: Bugs travels upon catching the jump ball. It would usually go uncalled, and it could be argued that he had not established possession upon his first step, but he very clearly takes two without dribbling.

Foul 14, 53:50: The Green MonStar slaps Bugs across the floor to steal the ball. This would likely be a Flagrant 2 foul, resulting in immediate ejection, as the MonStar not only committed excessive contact, but appeared to do so with malice in intent. At this point, the MonStars should only have four players on their active roster, as one would be ejected, and the Tune Squad should technically then be declared the winners as their opponent is unable to field a complete team, which is later confirmed when Marvin the Martian makes the threat to Jordan later in the game. So why did the MonStars dress only five players? Moron Mountain clearly has other employees. They could have stolen the talent of other players. In fact, they chose two centers and two power forwards. Adding a few shooters off of the bench would’ve been rather helpful.

Foul 15, 54:17: This could be seen as inadvertent, but four MonStars tackled an opposing player on the bench. Their momentum was carrying them, so it could’ve been a no-call, but the fact that there were four of them implies intent.

Space Jam FI

Foul 16, 55:21: The green MonStar breathes fire on Foghorn Leghorn. Though not technically physical contact, the fire originates from the MonStar’s mouth. It would therefore be considered on the same terms as spit, which would be called a technical foul. I’d also like to point out that Larry Johnson, the player that particular MonStar stole talent from, cannot in all likelihood breath fire.

Foul 17, 55:55: Lola kicks the orange MonStar in the face. This would be both a charge (as his feet were set) and likely, a Flagrant 2. Lola should be ejected.

Foul 18, 56:08: The Orange MonStar holds Jordan while he attempts to play defensively. Though it could be called as several different fouls, it would most likely be an illegal screen.

Foul 19, 56:30: The orange MonStar hangs on the rim. This is a fairly common occurrence for the MonStars. Why do the green and orange MonStars specifically commit such a disproportionate amount of fouls? The purple one gets in on the fun later, but the blue and red MonStars are pretty innocent as far as this game goes. Did it save on animation or something?

Space Jam FI

Foul 20, 56:34: Not technically a foul, as it was perpetrated by a referee, but Marvin the Martian shoots Sylvester through the stomach with his ray gun. This would most certainly warrant a complaint to the league office, and Marvin would likely face discipline.

Foul 21, 57:18: Though league rules are vague on the subject of spying, Stan, a member of the Tune Squad, attempts to do so by hiding in the MonStar locker room during halftime. The NFL set a precedent that the league would likely following when they docked the New England Patriots a first round pick and fined the team $250,000 along with a $500,000 fine for coach Bill Belichick for similar actions.

Foul 22, 1:00:00: Though water is obviously not a banned substance, the only people in the locker room who did not know for certain that “Michael’s Secret Stuff” was not a performance enhancing drug were Bugs and Michael. You could therefore argue that, on a moral level, the rest of the team had a responsibility to self-report what may in fact have been cheating. Of course, this is purely a moral question and not technically a violation.

Foul 23, 1:00:32: Bugs brings a Moped onto the court. That is clearly a banned foreign object and therefore a technical foul. He also does not dribble while traveling by Moped, so it could be called a travel, though he does not actually take any steps.

Foul 24, 1:00:48: Another banned foreign object, Wile E. Coyote uses dynamite on the rim.

Foul 25, 1:00:53: The purple MonStar grabs Wile E. and picks him up against his will. The two fouls would likely offset as double technicals.

Space Jam FI

Foul 26, 1:00:56: MORE foreign objects, both Yosemite Sam and Elmer Fudd bring guns onto the court and fire them, which would once again likely result in a suspension.

Foul 27, 1:01:15: A fourth consecutive banned foreign object, Sylvester uses a fishing rod to remove the orange MonStar’s pants. This could also be called as a uniform violation against the MonStars, but probably wouldn’t as it was not intentional.

Foul 28, 1:01:27: Porky gets on Sylvester’s back, who is already on Foghorn’s back, in order to dunk. This is a violation of NBA rule XIII Section B on illegal assists, which states that “a player may not assist a teammate to gain height while attempting to score.” This is a technical foul and the basket would not count.

Foul 29, 1:01:36: Though Pepe’s skunk excrement is not technically illegal, three Tune Squad members commit uniform violations by wearing gas masks.

Foul 30, 1:01:43: Pepe tips the ball in with his lips while it is still in the cylinder. This is offensive basket interference.

Foul 31, 1:01:59: Surprise! Another foreign object violation, Daffy brings paint onto the court, which results in the orange MonStar getting attacked by a rabid bull.

Foul 32, 1:02:20: Tweety attacks the entire MonStar team. This is an obvious foul and likely Flagrant 2.

Foul 33, 1:02:29: Mr. Swackhammer calls a timeout for the MonStars from the owner’s box, but as he is not on the sideline, he is not allowed to call timeouts. He may be considered their official coach, but as he is not on the sideline or playing in the game he cannot call timeouts. It should be noted that Marvin the Martian appears to try to stop him, which results in him being thrown aside.

Space Jam FI

Foul 34, 1:03:20: Jordan makes a potentially illegal agreement with Swackhammer to play for Moron Mountain should the Tune Squad lose. When Jordan retired from the NBA, he was still under contract with the Bulls. That contract contained a non-compete clause that prevented Jordan from signing with other basketball teams, both in the NBA and out. Jordan could sign a personal appearances or endorsement contract with Moron Mountain, but should they profit off of him playing basketball they open themselves up to lawsuits from the Bulls and NBA. In order for the agreement to be valid, Jordan would have to return to the NBA and play his contract to completion, or Moron Mountain could offer a settlement to the league and Bulls. Also, the deal is entirely unenforceable as it was not notarized or agreed to in writing. Jordan could easily claim that it never happened.

Foul 35, 1:04:14: Three MonStars collide with Wile E. resulting in his body falling to pieces. That would be a personal foul on whoever hit him first.

Foul 36, 1:04:18: Two MonStars squish Porky between their butts. This could be seen as inadvertent, but the evidence indicates intent.

Foul 37, 1:04:20: The orange MonStar squishes Sylvester. This is a personal foul.

Foul 38, 1:04:23: The orange MonStar slaps Jordan in the back of the head. Once again, a personal foul.

Space Jam FI

Foul 39, 1:04:26: The purple MonStar piledrives Elmer Fudd into the floor. This is another personal foul and likely a Flagrant 2.

Foul 40, 1:04:28: The purple MonStar punches Foghorn Leghorn in the face. This is a personal foul and likely Flagrant 2 as well.

Foul 41, 1:04:29: The orange MonStar kicks the Tasmanian Devil. I’d call this a Flagrant 1, as it’d be nearly impossible for a ref to get a good enough angle on it to surmise intent even with a review.

Foul 42, 1:04:32: The purple MonStar commits both a personal foul in using Foghorn Leghorn as a golf club to hit Tweety and a banned foreign object violation in bringing a golf tee onto the court.

Foul 43, 1:04:33: The purple MonStar smashes Daffy into the court. This would be a Flagrant 2.

Foul 44, 1:04:40: The orange MonStar elbows Jordan. This would be a personal foul.

Foul 45, 1:04:51: The orange MonStar uses the backboard to perform a cannonball on Bugs, aiming for Lola. This would be a Flagrant 2, though the ref should have prevented him from climbing the backboard in the first place.

Foul 46, 1:06:43: The entire MonStar team tackles Stan, who makes a three-point shot. He should be awarded one free throw as this was a shooting foul, but he does not get it.

Space Jam FI

Foul 47, 1:08:01: Bill Murray should not be allowed to play for the Tune Squad. He was not on the active roster handed in before the game. A team is allowed to name 15 players as active, but must submit rosters one hour before tip-off. Murray’s backwards baseball hat is also a uniform violation.

Foul 48, 1:09:35: The purple MonStar elbows the ref. That’s a personal foul.

Foul 49, 1:09:39: Daffy runs headfirst into the orange MonStar, which is a personal foul, but also commits a uniform violation by wearing a football helmet.

Foul 50, 1:09:55: The clock operator starts the clock late. There are 10 seconds left before the play begins, and the clock should start immediately upon the orange MonStar touching the ball. But the clock shows nine seconds left after the steal and several seconds of Murray dribbling.

Foul 51, 1:10:02: The purple MonStar smacks Daffy out of the way of a pass for a personal foul.

Foul 52, 1:10:09: Murray clearly travels while trying to trick the MonStars away from the ball.

Foul 53, 1:10:18: This is the hardest call to make in the entire game. The orange MonStar attempts to tackle Jordan at around the half-court line. He misses, but the referees cannot judge that as he did not make contact and could have potentially tripped (though unlikely). He is therefore considered a defenseless player, and Jordan steps on both his face and butt as a launching pad. This does not violate rule XIII section B, as earlier discussed, because that only pertains to teammates. However, stepping on another player’s face has to be considered an offensive foul, so the Tune Squad should have to surrender the ball, which would end the game. Even if that isn’t a foul, Jordan takes two steps off of the MonStar. NBA rules are unclear on whether stepping on an opposing player counts as the floor, likely because stepping on an opposing player is universally considered a foul. But if the foul goes uncalled, it could be reasonably implied that an opposing player is tantamount to the floor, which would mean Jordan traveled. In either scenario, the Tune Squad should lose the game here.

Space Jam FI

Foul 54, 1:10:35: The purple and green MonStars both grab Jordan in an attempt to prevent him from dunking. Both are personal fouls, but the call would go against the green one for initiating contact.

Foul 55, 1:10:57: Jordan is awarded only two points on his game-winning dunk. But he jumped from behind the three-point line, so it should have been three. This doesn’t change the outcome, as the Tunes were behind by only one point, but it may have mattered within the gambling community.

Foul 56, 1:15:19: Jordan lands a spaceship in center field of his baseball game so that he can play. This would be considered a delay of game, and as Jordan was not present for the beginning of the game, he was likely left off of the active roster as well.

Final Tally: 56 Uncalled Fouls

3 thoughts on “Every Uncalled Foul: Space Jam”

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