The Los Angeles Lakers are coming to HBO. Adam McKay’s untitled Lakers project, once called Showtime, chronicling the dynasty’s big personalities during its dominant run in the 1980s, is getting a series order at the premium cable network, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Not every high profile pilot gets the series treatment at HBO, as was the case with Steve McQueen’s Codes of Conduct, so the network must feel pretty strongly about this one.
Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, the series boasts an impressive cast. John C. Reilly will play Lakers owner Jerry Buss, with Jason Clarke as general manager Jerry West. Thankfully, as far as the players are concerned, it found a talented athlete in Solomon Hughes to portray NBA icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Hughes played at UC-Berkeley and then joined the Harlem Globetrotters. Quincy Isaiah will star as Magic Johnson.
Other cast members include Hadley Robinson (Little Women) as Buss’ daughter (and current Lakers controlling owner and president) Jeanie Buss, Spencer Garrett (Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood) as legendary broadcaster Chick Hearn, Kirk Bovill (Just Mercy) as Los Angeles Clippers controversial owner Donald Sterling, and DeVaughn Nixon (Runaways) portraying his father: former Laker Norm Nixon.
Said HBO’s executive VP of programming, Francesca Orsi:
“Alongside Adam McKay and Max Borenstein, HBO couldn’t be more thrilled to examine one of professional sports’ most beloved empires. Across 1980s Los Angeles, we’ll experience the exhilarating ride of a team that dominated a decade of basketball, and watch them not only achieve iconic status but transform the sport in every way.”
That they did. Before Michael Jordan’s Bulls became the class of the NBA, the Lakers’ rivalry with the Boston Celtics was the talk of the hardwood. L.A.’s fast-break style, flashy players, Laker Girls, and celebrity fans like Jack Nicholson cemented that team as an historic one. It would win five NBA titles during the decade.
McKay, who will also executive produce, directed the pilot, which was written by Max Borenstein (Godzilla: King of the Monsters). No word yet on a premiere date or how many episodes the series will consist of. It joins Watergate series The White House Plumbers, the sci-fi comedy Avenue 5, and McKay’s Jeffrey Epstein project (as if anyone asked for that) on HBO’s slate of forthcoming original series.