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In Space Jam: A New Legacy, Lebron James’ fictionalized son Dominic (Cedric Joe) wants nothing more than to put his tech brain to use building video games. His dad, on the other hand, being a superstar basketball player and all, wants Dom to follow in his footsteps on the court. Though many can relate to their parents pushing them in a specific career direction from an early age, fellow castmate Zendaya particularly relates to the storyline of the sequel.

“The hope for me was to be a basketball player, I was supposed to be Lebron but I went in a different direction,” Zendaya tells ESSENCE laughing. “My dad was like ‘You’re going to be the first woman in the NBA, that’s happening,” she adds pointing out that both of her parents were basketball players at one point in their lives and her mom is a striking 6’4.

“My parents had basketball camp that we did every ear, my dad was my P.E.teacher so I definitely didn’t have a break because his classroom was the gym at the school, but I was over it. I was like this is not for me, I want to go play on the stage. I want to act.”

In the movie, Zendaya voices the character Lola Bunny, the star player on the Loony Toons squad, which she jokes in a way fulfills her parents’ wish. “My dad I think is still coming to terms with that, that that dream will never happen, but I think I did alright. Now they’ll truly be proud of me because I’m on a team with Lebron.”

Adding in some sage advice, she continues, “Sometimes parents have their own dreams for you and then sometimes they have to figure out that it’s really about supporting their child’s dream and what they really want and cultivating that inside of them.”

Check out our full interview with Zendaya in the video above. Space Jam: A New Legacy hits theaters July 16.


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