Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will be played by actors Quincy Isaiah and Solomon Hughes, respectively, in HBO’s upcoming series based on the 1980s “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers, Variety reported Thursday.
The currently untitled pilot, written by Max Borenstein (“Godzilla”) and directed by Adam McKay (“The Big Short”), is based on Jeff Pearlman’s nonfiction book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.”
Isaiah’s IMDb page lists short film “Corporate Coffee” as his only prior credit.
While the project is Hughes’ professional acting debut (he spent the past decade in academia and writing a bit about NCAA reform, according to his LinkedIn profile), he has significant experience actually playing basketball, which bodes well.
Hughes played in college for Cal, leading the Pac-10 in field goal percentage his junior year, and graduating in 2002 after serving as a team captain. He went on to play in the now-defunct USBL, ABA and in Mexico's pro league, and was also a Harlem Globetrotter, according to Variety. The 6-foot-11 former center also has a PhD in higher education.
In addition to Hughes and Isaiah, the show has cast John C. Reilly as Lakers owner Jerry Buss, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Buss purchased the team, as well as the Los Angeles Kings and the Los Angeles Forum sports arena, in 1979.
Jason Clarke, known for his role as a CIA intelligence officer in the Oscar- nominated 2012 film “Zero Dark Thirty,” has reportedly been cast as Jerry West.
The show was originally expected to begin production this summer, but it’s unclear as of now when it will hit TV screens.
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