Apple has ordered to series Swagger, a basketball-themed drama from NBA superstar Kevin Durant and his Thirty Five Ventures, Shots Fired co-creator Reggie Rock Bythewood, Imagine Television, and CBS TV Studios, where Imagine TV has a first-look deal.
Written and directed by Bythewood, who also serves as showrunner, Swagger is inspired by Durant’s youth basketball experiences. It explores the world of AAU basketball in the nation’s capital, and the players, their families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, and opportunism and corruption.
Bythewood executive produces with Durant, Brian Grazer and Francie Calfo for Imagine TV, and Rich Kleiman for Thirty Five Ventures.
The pickup for Swagger, which had been in the works for awhile, comes days after the announcement of a Universal movie based on the formative early years of fellow NBA star LeBron James playing on a youth basketball team in Ohio.
James Seidman will serve as the Imagine executive on Swagger; Sarah Flynn will serve as executive for Thirty Five Ventures. The drama is co-produced by Imagine TV and CBS TV Studios.
Bythewood co-created limited Fox series Shots Fired with his wife and writing/producing partner Gina Prince-Bythewood. He also served as a producer on New York Undercover, among other credits.
This is the third streaming series order for Imagine TV in the past two months, joining Marc Cherry’s Why Women Kill at CBS All Access and Wu-Tang: An American Saga at Hulu. The company also has pilot 68 Whiskey at Paramount Network and a Jessica Gao comedy in development at ABC. Its current series include Empire on Fox and Genius on Nat Geo.
Swagger also marks CBS TV Studios’ first series at Apple.
Durant founded Thirty Five Media in 2017 with business partner and sports/entertainment executive Rich Kleiman. Thirty Five Media serves as the duo’s media production and creative development arm, including a partnership with YouTube. The company also is behind Apple’s The Boardroom, a collaboration with ESPN, and the upcoming documentary Q Ball, in conjunction with Fox Sports Films.