On Thursday, actor Jason Segel and Eighth Grade director Bo Burnham became the latest to sign on to the cast of an as-yet-untitled HBO drama chronicling the Los Angeles Lakers’ “Showtime” era of the 1980s, made iconic by an aggressive style of fast breaks, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s skyhook, plus live bands and dancers at home games—not to mention five NBA championship titles.
Segel has signed on to play Lakers coach Paul Westhead, who led the Lakers—and 1979 first overall draft pick Earvin “Magic” Johnson—to victory in the 1980 NBA Finals, before being replaced by Pat Riley, coaching a losing season for the 1982-’83 Bulls, and returning to college hoops until the 1990s. Riley will be portrayed by Adrian Brody.
Burnham—who stands a respectable six-foot-five, in case you were wondering—will be playing Larry Bird. As Deadline points out, “The Lakers-Celtics’ rivalry helped define the NBA in the 1980s with their games attracting huge TV audiences, and Bird played a major part in that.”
The series is based on Jeff Pearlman’s 2014 book, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.
Directed by Adam McKay and penned Godzilla vs. Kong scribe Max Borenstein, the show also stars John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, the former owner who played a key role in the creation of the Showtime Lakers; Jason Clarke as “tortured genius of basketball,” manager Jerry West; and newcomers Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson (who—spoiler—is widely blamed for getting Westfield fired) and Solomon Hughes as Abdul-Jabbar.
Additionally, Michael Chiklis will portray Boston Celtics boss Red Auerbach and Sally Field will play Buss’s mother, Jessie Buss.
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