HBO's LA Lakers Drama Series Just Cast Actors as Richard Pryor and Jack Nicholson

Adam McKay‘s upcoming L.A. Lakers drama on HBO has cast some pivotal players in the series. Mike Epps (The Upshaws), Carina Conti (The Last Tycoon), Max E. Williams (Dreamland), and Mariama Diallo (Random Acts of Flyness) have all scored recurring roles on the show that will be based on Jeff Pearlman‘s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. 

And yes, as the headline tells you, two of those actors will be playing some of the most famous performers of the 20th century.

Deadline reports that Epps will play Richard Pryor, the boundary-breaking comedian who lived the Hollywood dream, sometimes in excess. Pryor was a five-time Grammy winner, an Emmy winner, and starred in ’80s comedy films such as Brewster’s Millions and See No Evil, Hear No Evil. Epps himself is a renowned comedian and got his start by joining the Def Comedy Jam tour in 1995 and starred in two Def Comedy Jam broadcasts on HBO.

Carina Conti will don teased hair and sequins for her role as pop star Paula Abdul. Starting her career as a Lakers cheerleader at the age of 18, Abdul advanced to become the team’s choreographer and was later discovered by the Jacksons. From there, she dove into the music industry.

One of the Lakers’ biggest courtside fans, Jack Nicholson, will be played by Williams. You’re reading a movie website. We don’t need to tell you who Jack Nicholson is.

Diallo will be portraying Iman, the wife of Laker Spencer Haywood. Iman is a Somali-American supermodel who is a legend on the runway and served as a muse for top designers such as Gianni Versace, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan.

Written by Max Borenstein (Godzilla vs. Kong), “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.” Borenstein will also be executive producing alongside McKay.

While there has been an exhausting resurgence of ’80s nostalgia on screen over the past few years, the sports arena has not been tackled as much as sci-fi and horror. The flashy lifestyle, high-energy music, and bright aesthetic are all enticing avenues to complement the all-star and iconic NBA players like Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Larry Bird.

Speaking of these top players, more actors in the supporting cast were previously announced, but here is a brief refresher. Adrien Brody plays Pat Riley, John C. Reilly plays team owner Jerry Buss, Jason Clarke plays general manager Jerry West, Jason Segal plays assistant coach Paul Westhead, Sally Field plays Jessie Buss, Quincy Isaiah plays Magic Johnson, Solomon Hughes plays Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Gaby Hoffmann plays Claire Rothman, and Bo Burnham will play Larry Bird.

Lakers Legacy

The L.A. Lakers have 17 Championships on the court, 19 Conference Titles, and 33 Division Titles. You know, they’re legends. Despite being a Mavs fan at heart (Dallas born and raised), I grew up watching the Lakers and love so many of its players, old and new. I have sports memorabilia signed by Shaq, Magic Johnson, and Dennis Rodman. So I’m not playing around when I say that I can’t wait for this series. The combination of seasoned and new talent on screen is also something to cheer for, and it could offer a fascinating look back at an era many of us weren’t around to experience.

Also, witnessing Conti portray Abdul in her younger years and Epps playing Pryor will surely be enjoyable and full of zest. Overall, this series looks like it is on track to be a slam dunk.

No information about the series’ release is available yet, beyond its home on HBO.

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