If you watched Season 1 of Ballers and thought, “Hey, I’ve seen this before.”, You’re probably right. Season one of Ballers had a very Entourage feel to it. However, that’s not saying it’s a bad thing. After eight very successful seasons, Entourage hit theaters in 2015 with a major motion picture.
HBO isn’t even the first to attempt the life off the field approach. ESPN’s Playmakers debuted back in 2003 with a similar concept. However facing pressure from the NFL the show ended after one short season. Good news for NFL fans though. HBO allows Ballers to take on off the field issues with fewer restrictions of most cable networks. However, with the NFL still a few weeks away, football fans will have to settle for the fictional version. No worries, sports fans. There’s a few cameos to hold you over.
Doing more acting these days than wrestling, Dwayne Johnson tackles the role of Spencer Strasmore. If ever there was a role for Johnson to distance himself from his wrestling career, it’s Ballers. Countless movies have been filmed with actors turned wrestlers and none of quite enjoyed the success that Johnson has.
However, no matter the success of his films the occasional Rock Bottom will send him right back to square one to average fans. Insert Ballers. Struggling with life after football himself, Spencer Strasmore’s days are filled advising young talent how to build a life outside of football. Johnson’s charm and charisma shows through as Strasmore, allowing the character to seem real very believable.
John David Washington
If you’re looking for a movies John David Washington has been in, it’s a very small list. A former practice squad player for St. Louis Ram, Washington spent time with the NFL Europa and the now defunct United Football League. Who better to have on board than an actor who knows about struggling to break into the NFL.
While not too many football players have crossed over into long-lasting acting careers, Washington has the opportunity to learn from the best. Son of a well established Washington (Denzel), John David Washington shows he can hold his own in front of a camera.
Playing the wildly unpredictable receiver Ricky Jarret, Washington dives into a role that could make a name for himself. Struggling with the price of fame Jarret’s out of line antics could derail his career. Babysat by Strasmore, Jarret has to decide what he loves more, his NFL career or the limelight that comes with it.
Ballers seems to have done their homework on former football players. Once a former defensive lineman at UCLA, Donovan Carter was cut from the Oakland Raiders. If you can’t live out your dream to be an NFL talent, at least do the next best thing and play one on television. Carter plays Vernon Littlefield, an up-and-coming prospect Strasmore has hitched his wagon to.
Surrounding himself with the wrong kind of people, Littlefield has to prove he’s ready for the next step in his career and break free of the people who hold him down. This may be Carter’s first shot at acting, but surrounded by a well seasoned cast, these new comers have no trouble fitting in.
If you haven’t started the show and don’t want anything ruined, thanks for following along but you can stop reading here.
Season 2 of Ballers started as fast paced as Seaosn 1 ended. Having new found success, demons from the past finally catch up to Spencer. Appearing on a local talk show, a former adversary in Terrell Suggs crashes the party and digs up their old feud. Tempers flare and a fight breaks out bringing little needed heat to their current state of business.
The first episode of the new season has something the previous ones had not: A good pace. One of the biggest knocks of season one was it failed to connect viewers to the characters. That is to say there was no emotional attachment. Season 2 grabs the viewer a bit more with guest appearances from NFL stars.
Jarvis Landry, Greg Jennings, and Ndamukong Suh all make casual appearances in this weeks episode. With so little football in the month of July, the show capitalizes on the void needed to be filled. Rumor has it more guest appearances are coming down the stretch. With HBO’s 10 episode seasons, the show should carry viewers right into this years NFL season. Ballers may not be your new Sunday show until Game of Thrones comes back, but at least it will hold you over until The Walking Dead returns in October.
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