Televised sports broadcasts have been a fount of innovation of late, with CBS debuting a kid-friendly, Nickelodeon-themed NFL broadcast heavy on the slime, MLB Network breaking out a more casual player-centric broadcast, and various other broadcasts that allow you to pretend that you're hanging out talking sports with your favorite TV personalities. So fun! No network has yet harnessed the power of movie magic—no network, that is, until ESPN, who today announced plans to spice up an otherwise obviously boooooooring Warriors-Pelicans matchup on May 3 through the vibrant storytelling possibilities of cinema.
A straight-up Steph Curry vs. Zion Williamson matchup? Ha ha, I'd rather kiss a catfish on the lips! But get this: ESPN is going to make it better by placing the game inside a narrative from an installment of the world's most beloved sci-fi action franchise: Leprechaun 4: In Space.
Fans of the universally beloved Leprechaun series—home to such films as Leprechaun 6: Back 2 Tha Hood and Leprechaun: Origins—will recall that the plot of Leprechaun 4: In Space revolves around the titular evil Leprechaun getting up to his usual murderous hijinks, except this time, it's set in—get this—space. This little rascal has waited the 24 years since the movie's release for his time in the spotlight and it's finally here! From (a lightly edited version of) the press release:
The “LepreCast” will be anchored by ESPN commentators Ryan Ruocco and Richard Jefferson, who will hold forth from a Leprechaun-themed studio at ESPN’s Bristol, CT headquarters. Angélique Roché, the host of a Leprechaun Entertainment podcast, will provide expert Leprechaun analysis.Variety (sort of)
The obvious recruiting center is, well, the ESPN game, and Leprechaun characters will observe three players from each team during the game, awarding them “Leprechaun Gold Coins” based on their achievement and performance. The heroes will study Stephen Curry, Draymond Green and Andrew Wiggins from the Golden State Warriors and Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball from the Pelicans. The player on the winning team who scores the most coins will be crowned “Leprechaun of the Night” following the game. Every point, rebound, assist, steal or block wins one Leprechaun Gold Coins. But any missed field goal, free throw or turnover means a Gold Coin gets deducted.Variety (mostly)
The basketball game will surely be ancillary to the true contest between the team's stars for the honor of being crowned the "Leprechaun of the Night." As you know, the movie features the Leprechaun courting the space princess Zarina, only to be waylaid and exploded by space marines of some sort. However, his spirit lives on after his corpse is pissed upon and he enters the pisser's body, which I am sure we can all agree at the very least shows resiliency. Basketball is all about overcoming challenges too, so I can see why they pursued this synergy. Sports and pop culture: finally together at last.