EXCLUSIVE: Tracy Letts (Ford v. Ferrari, Divorce) Julianne Nicholson (Mare of Easttown), Jimel Atkins (David Makes Man), LisaGay Hamilton (To Kill A Mockingbird) and Andy Hirsch (Fort McCoy) have joined the cast of Adam McKay’s Los Angeles Lakers HBO drama series, based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. McKay’s Hyperobject Industries is producing.
Written by Max Borenstein, the fast-break series chronicles the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined its era both on and off the court.
Letts will play Jack McKinney. The unsung hero behind Showtime basketball, Jack McKinney is the original architect of the Lakers’ fast paced running game. Despite having no NBA head coaching experience, McKinney must find a way to translate his groundbreaking vision and unify his new team.
Nicholson is Cranny McKinney. A coach’s wife who is in many ways a coach herself, Cranny McKinney is frank, funny, and tenacious. No stranger to uprooting her family, she does it one last time – leading the family to LA for what could be the realization of their lifelong dream. It proves to be just that; but as the Lakers rocket to unprecedented success, tragedy derails everything.
Atkins will portray Jamaal Wilkes. The son of a Baptist preacher who converted to Islam, Jamaal Wilkes is thoughtful, good-natured, and soft-spoken. Which means he’s often overshadowed by the big personalities (and bigger egos) of his teammates. But he doesn’t need headlines or hype. On the court, he’s a silent killer; with game smooth enough to earn his nickname: Silk.
Hamilton will play Magic Johnson’s mom, Christine Johnson. Like her son, Christine Johnson is a natural leader in her community; able to command a room with charisma and savvy. As Magic’s fame and wealth grow, she tries to keep his feet on the ground.
Hirsch is David Stern. As commissioner of the NBA for 30 years, David Stern’s groundbreaking marketing transformed the NBA and led it to unprecedented financial success. But in 1979, he was the organization’s legal counsel, determined to use the rivalry between Magic Johnson and Larry Bird to reinvigorate the league – and, hopefully, save it from financial ruin.
They join previously announced cast Brett Cullen as Bill Sharman, Lola Kirke as Karen West, Sarah Ramos as Cheryl Pistono, Jason Segel as Paul Westhead, Michael Chiklis as Red Auerbach, Sally Field as Jessie Buss, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson, Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gaby Hoffmann as Claire Rothman, Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss, DeVaughn Nixon as Norm Nixon, Molly Gordon as Linda Zafrani, Rob Morgan as Earvin Johnson Sr., Spencer Garrett as Chick Hearn, Kirk Bovill as Donald Sterling, Delante Desouza as Michael Cooper, Stephen Adly Guirgis as Frank Mariani, Tamera Tomakili as Earletha “Cookie” Kelly, Joey Brooks as Lon Rosen and Bo Burnham as Larry Bird.
Borenstein executive produces the series with McKay, who directs the pilot, and Kevin Messick for Hyperobject Industries. Jim Hecht is co-writer of story and executive produces along with Jason Shuman, Scott Stephens and Rodney Barnes.
Letts, most recently seen in Oscar-winning Ford v. Ferrari and HBO’s Divorce, is repped by Innovative Artists. Nicholson, who currently can be seen in HBO’s Mare of Easttown, is repped by UTA. The Practice and Men Of A Certain Age alum Hamilton is repped by Greene & Associates Talent Agency and Greenlight Management. Newcomer Atkins, who recently appeared in David Makes Man, is repped by Hyperion and Luber Roklin Entertainment. Hirsch, whose film credits include World War II drama Fort McCoy and Liz & Dick, is repped by MMV Agency and Larry Hummel.
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