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Ballers: Season One

| June 10, 2016

It seems that you can’t step out your door these days without being hit with a promo for a new Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson project.  The man has established dominance in the marketplace.  What is his edge on the competition?  Well, while they’re sleeping, he is hitting the gym in between set visits.  His personal Instagram account showcases his 4am wakeup calls to get in his workouts before jetting off to the next shoot.  The man literally does not sleep.  In the midst of his massive blockbusters, Johnson spends a lot of time promoting Ballers, the HBO freshman series centered on an ex-NFL player turned financial advisor.

Many hale HBO’s latest as the sports version of Entourage, which to some degree is correct, but where Entourage lacked Ballers makes up for, and vice versa.  The sense of family is expanded upon, rather than having it be four close friends, it’s more about the family of current and ex-NFL players who have fought on the gridiron together.  In steps Spencer Strasmore (Johnson), a former Dolphins star who wants to help the younger players manage their finances and not blow their contract bonuses right away.

From the get-go, we learn that Spencer has his hands full in the faces of Ricky Jerret (John David Washington) and Vernon Littlefield (Donovan Carter), two separate clients who bring their own issues to the table.  Ricky is a star who has a problem with rules.  He has been traded to the Miami Dolphins and will do everything he can to stay in the spotlight of a superstar despite his off-field antics (how does sex in a nightclub sound?).  Vernon is in the middle of contract negotiations after being a standout player for the Cowboys, but his agent and Spencer have a hard time dealing with Vernon’s best friend (and manager), Reggie.   We hear all the time that mixing friendship and business can be tough, and this is the perfect example.  HBO’s writers did a perfect job crafting the role of Reggie, who as viewers you want to punch in the face as much as Spencer does.

In the midst of dealing with his client’s own issues, Spencer must come to terms with the fact that he is not a football player anymore and all the aliments that come with his past career.  Touching on the hot topic of brain injuries linked to football, Spencer has some side effects from one too many concussions during his time spent on the field.  Now they don’t go to the lengths of Will Smith’s Concussion, but some interesting points are raised.

Just like the world of Entourage, Baller gives us a look at what we all fantasize the world of professional sports is like: wild parties, gorgeous women, awesome cars, oh and occasionally some football workouts.  While Ballers is not a fix for anyone looking for Entourage Part 2, it is a cool new concept to continue the bro-centric, reality inspired stories that we have come to love.  Ballers is a great summer watch and will keep you interested enough to see what will shake out in Season 2, when the stakes (or so it seems) get even higher.

Ballers will be on Blu-Ray/DVD and Digital Download on June 14.

About the Author:

Mike works during the day in beautiful downtown Chicago as a Digital Sales Campaign Specialist and fights crime by night, stopping those who prey on the weak and the help-- no, he just watches movies. A lot of movies. Follow him on Twitter: @Mike_DaltonNAF
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