Report: HBO working on scripted drama based on 'Showtime' Lakers

Yahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
If there was ever going to be a series covering a basketball team, the "Showtime" <a class="link rapid-noclick-resp" href="/nba/teams/la-lakers/" data-ylk="slk:Lakers">Lakers</a> were an excellent choice. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)
If there was ever going to be a series covering a basketball team, the "Showtime" Lakers were an excellent choice. (Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images)

The “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers of the 1980s could be going full ... well, showtime.

A scripted drama covering the “Showtime” Lakers, which won five championships in the ‘80s behind the talents of all-time greats Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson, has picked up a pilot order from HBO, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

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The title for the series will be, of course, “Showtime.”

Who’s behind HBO’s ‘Showtime’?

The project is reportedly based on Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” which released in 2014. It will be helmed by veteran producer Adam McKay, who is well-known for collaborations with Will Ferrell that include “Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy.”

McKay recently split with Ferrell, and has done plenty in the drama department lately with titles like “The Big Short,” “Vice” and “Succession.” He will reportedly direct the pilot, with Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht writing the script.

The pilot is already exploring casting options for Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar and Pat Riley, according to the report. They’re either going to need some very tall actors or some very clever camera tricks.

What Lakers stories could the ‘Showtime’ project cover?

Per the Hollywood Reporter, HBO described the project as “a fast-break series chronicling the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers.”

McKay also released a statement to the Reporter:

"Jeff Pearlman's book and Max Borenstein's script of the story of the Showtime Lakers really knocked me over. Sexism, racism, tragedy, redemption, no-look passes and a giant cultural shift in America... I can’t wait to start filming," McKay said Tuesday in a statement.

Obviously, that doesn’t give us much in terms of what the series will cover. Pearlman’s book leaves them plenty of options, however.

Such material includes the very active personal lives of Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson, the sale of the team from Jack Kent Cooke to Jerry Buss, the teams’ rivalry with the Boston Celtics, the firing of Paul Westhead and hiring of Pat Riley and so many more salacious details.

Few teams have ever been as successful in a decade as the Lakers were in the ‘80s, and you could argue none were more entertaining on and off the court.

You also have to wonder how the folks at HBO’s premium cable rival, literally named Showtime, missed out on this one.

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