O'Shea Jackson Jr. to Star in Apple's Basketball Drama 'Swagger'

The 'Just Mercy' actor is taking over for Winston Duke, who was injured during filming.
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O'Shea Jackson Jr.

O'Shea Jackson Jr. is stepping into the lead role of the Apple TV+ drama Swagger, produced by NBA star Kevin Durant.

Jackson takes over the part from Winston Duke (Us, Black Panther), who had to exit the Imagine Television/CBS TV Studios show after suffering an on-set injury. 

Swagger will explore the world of youth basketball in Washington, D.C., following players, families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, opportunism and corruption. The series is inspired by Durant's experience as a top player on the youth hoops circuit, before he went on to become a perennial NBA All-Star. 

Jackson (Just Mercy, Straight Outta Compton) will play Ike, a former star player who's now a youth basketball coach. "I’m thrilled to be involved with such a profound and impactful project that stands for family, explores the development and growth of today’s youth, involves the game of basketball, and most importantly addresses such key social issues which are tackled throughout the series," he said. "Swagger is an opportunity to explore a fresh, multi-dimensional character under the guidance of an amazing director like Reggie Rock [Bythewood] and his team on a daily basis."

Said Duke, "Thank you to Imagine, CBS and Apple TV for the opportunity to have collaborated on this project. As I work toward a full recovery in the coming months, I look forward to joining everyone on future endeavors. Congratulations to O’Shea — I have no doubt that he’ll shine in this role."

Bythewood (Fox's Shots Fired, New York Undercover) serves as showrunner and director of Swagger and executive produces with Imagine's Brian Grazer and Thirty Five Ventures' Durant and Rich Kleiman.

The series doesn't yet have a premiere date. Apple continues to roll out original series for its TV+ streaming platform at the rate of a couple shows per month. The tech behemoth has renewed every ongoing series that has debuted so far, in addition to handing out early pickups for Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet and Home Before Dark ahead of their series debuts.  

Variety first reported the news.