Meet the Cast of HBO's 1980s L.A. Lakers Drama

The pilot, executive produced by Adam McKay, chronicles the team's 1980s dynasty led by Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
Foc Kan/WireImage; Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images; Courtesy of HBO; Van Johnson Company
From left: Jason Clarke, John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah, Solomon Hughes

HBO is adding a little Showtime to its programming.

The premium cable outlet is developing a drama based on the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, which went by the "Showtime" moniker during a decade that saw them win five NBA championships. The series will delve into the professional and personal lives of the team and its management as they created one of sports' most revered dynasties and a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.

The as-yet-untitled pilot will be executive produced and directed by Adam McKay (Succession, Vice). Also executive producing are McKay's partner Kevin Messick, writer Max Borenstein, co-writer of the story Jim Hecht, Jason Shuman and Scott Stephens. Rodney Barnes is a co-EP. The effort is inspired by Jeff Pearlman's book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.

Below, meet the cast of the series and their real-life counterparts. Bookmark this page as The Hollywood Reporter will update it with the latest castings and status of the project.

Jason Clarke as Jerry West

Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty, HBO's Catherine the Great) will play Lakers legend West, a 14-time NBA All-Star during his playing days and who became the team's general manager in 1982. West is the cantankerous, tortured genius of basketball, who ought to be the perfect man to build the Lakers into a dynasty — if only he can get past his own worst enemy: himself. Clarke is repped by WME, Robert Stein Management and attorney Carlos Goodman.

John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss

Frequent McKay collaborator Reilly (Step Brothers, Talladega Nights) will play the Lakers owner, who bought the team, the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the Forum in Inglewood in 1979. Buss is a self-made millionaire whose success has only amplified his proclivity for risk. He redefines American sports, celebrity and wealth by transforming the Lakers into a dynasty, but his house of cards threatens to collapse on him and the people he loves most. Michael Shannon was originally cast as Buss, but exited the project due to creative differences. Reilly is repped by WME, Peg Donegan and attorney Michael Gendler.

Quincy Isaiah as Earvin 'Magic' Johnson

Newcomer Isaiah, a recent drama school graduate from Muskegon, Michigan (about 100 miles from Johnson's hometown of Lansing), will play the Lakers point guard. As gifted in the game as he is magnetic in life, Magic's fast-paced, captivating play revolutionizes basketball even as his style of celebrity transforms the social fabric of the culture. Isaiah is repped by CAA, Impact Talent Group and attorney Terrence Williams.

Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Hughes is making his professional acting debut in the series. The 6-foot-11 former captain of the University of California, Berkeley, basketball team played professionally in the USBL and ABA and in Mexico's pro league and was also a Harlem Globetrotter; he has a doctorate in higher education from the University of Georgia. Hughes will play Lakers center (and future Hollywood Reporter columnist) Abdul-Jabbar, whose intelligence, talent and political activism have made him a living legend but whose introverted nature leads him to be misunderstood by not only the public, but his own teammates. He is deeply sensitive after a lifetime of betrayals, but the arrival of rookie Magic Johnson sparks his gradual journey to open up to those around him, a quest that re-inspires his love of the game. Hughes is repped by The Van Johnson Company and Barnes Morris.