With many spending much more time at home than usual, we at NBC Sports Washington decided it was a good time to catch up on sports movies and television shows that some of us have somehow missed. DC Sports Live's Nick Ashooh has a recomendation that should keep you entertained : HBO's Ballers, which premiered in 2015 and just ended its run last year after five seasons.
I get it, you are already restless. We all are. Even the most passionate sports fan probably did not really realize how much they loved sports until nothing was available.
We’re living in a world where everything feels turned upside down at the moment and we need some relief.
So, with no live sports for the foreseeable future, let’s try and find a silver lining.
The one thing we can appreciate during this whole coronavirus crisis is we have endless amounts of content to binge, and there’s more than enough on-demand to help keep you from getting so desperate that you find yourself learning how to make a quiche.
If you haven’t seen Ballers on HBO, get on it. This is the closest thing we’ve had to Playmakers, and it’s five seasons that find a way to incorporate just about everything going on in real life with the NFL. It’s a sports dramedy, so you get that mix of sarcasm and actual serious real-life conflict mixed in.
Plus I have a rule -- anything that has Dwayne Johnson in it is worth your time.
The Rock plays Spencer Strasmore, a recently retired NFL star who wants to prove he can make it in the financial world of sports, along with his friend turned business partner Joe Krutel (Rob Corddry). With guest appearances from real athletes (like former Raven Terrell Suggs), the battle for NFL labor peace, diva receivers, and boat parties that get a little too crazy (right Vikings?). If it’s happened in the football world, you’re likely seeing Ballers' own spin on it in an episode or two.
I’m not saying this is the greatest show every made by any stretch, but it’s a fun ride.. It gives you an off-the-field perspective on pro sports, but doesn’t get so slow that you find your eyes glazing over. Plus, The Rock’s on-screen chemistry and friendship with Corddry is ever evolving as the seasons progress.
Make sure to watch it all in order though. Don’t do that whole skipping seasons bit. Season three has a ton of meat on it, from the pitch to move the Raiders to Vegas, to a fake “Jerry Jones” who just so happens to be played by Christopher McDonald (Shooter McGavin), who they call “Boss Man”. Honestly, the best episode might be the second of season three. Vernon Littlefield, who’s on his way to a massive contract with the Cowboys, gets caught up promoting a weed business. “Boss man” is furious, and all you can think of is Jerry Jones being in this exact situation.
Spencer also finds his way into driving a monster truck to convince some very rich people that he’s cool. And then he decides to tell the entire crowd after he crashes that he wants to bring the NFL to Vegas. Seriously, it’s a lot to take in.
If you’re looking for a fun watch, that’s easy to binge -- something we all want right now -- then Ballers needs to be on your list. We want live sports back as soon as safely possible, but for the time being, any way to supplement that need is a welcome distraction.
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