L.A. Lakers Drama From Adam McKay Scores Series Pickup at HBO

Jason Clarke, John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah and Solomon Hughes - Getty-H 2019
Foc Kan/WireImage; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Courtesy of HBO; Van Johnson Company

It's Showtime at HBO.

The premium cable outlet has given a series order to a drama about the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers from executive producer Adam McKay (Succession). The show will chronicle the professional and personal lives of the team's "Showtime" era, so named for the Lakers' fast-breaking style of play and star-studded celebrity fans. The team is one of sports' most revered and dominant dynasties and one that defined its era both on and off the court.

The untitled series is the first to be greenlit under a rich five-year, first-look deal for McKay's Hyperobject Industries at HBO. Max Borenstein (Godzilla, The Terror: Infamy) wrote the pilot and is also an executive producer. An episode count and premiere date are to be determined.

"Alongside Adam McKay and Max Borenstein, HBO couldn't be more thrilled to examine one of professional sports' most beloved empires," said Francesca Orsi, executive vp HBO Programming. "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.”

The series stars Jason Clarke as Laker legend Jerry West, the team's general manager for much of the '80s; John C. Reilly as team owner Jerry Buss; newcomer Quincy Isaiah as Earvin "Magic" Johnson; and former UC-Berkeley basketball player and Harlem Globetrotter Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. 

The cast also includes Gaby Hoffmann (Transparent) as Claire Rothman, general manager of the Forum arena; Hadley Robinson as Buss' daughter (and future Lakers executive) Jeanie; DeVaughn Nixon as Lakers guard Norm Nixon (DeVaughn's father); Molly Gordon (Booksmart) as Forum executive Linda Zafrani; Rob Morgan (Stranger Things) as Earvin Johnson Sr., Magic's father; Spencer Garrett (Apple's For All Mankind) as Lakers play-by-play man Chick Hearn; Kirk Bovill (Just Mercy) as L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling; Delante Desouza as Lakers shooting guard Michael Cooper; Stephen Adly Guirgis (McKay's Vice) as Lakers executive Frank Mariani; Tamera Tomakili (Fruitvale Station) as Earletha "Cookie" Keely, Magic Johnson's girlfriend and later wife; and Joey Brooks as Lon Rosen, Magic's agent.

McKay directed the pilot and executive produces with Hyperobject partner Kevin Messick, Borenstein, co-writer of the story, and Jim Hecht, Jason Shuman, Scott Stephens and Rodney Barnes. The series is based on Jeff Pearlman's book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.

The Lakers series joins a slate of upcoming HBO originals that includes Watergate limited series The White House PlumbersArmando Iannucci's sci-fi comedy Avenue 5; a limited series about Jeffrey Epstein, also from McKay; The Most Fun We Ever Had, which counts Amy Adams and Laura Dern among its exec producers; an adaptation of Barbara Kingsolver's The Poisonwood Bible with Adams among its EPs; the Kate Winslet-led drama Mare of Easttown; Joss Whedon's The Nevers; and J.J. Abrams' sci-fi drama Demimonde.