In March, Deadline reported that HBO had ordered a pilot for a scripted series based on the book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” by Jeff Pearlman. Naturally, the first question that popped into nearly everyone’s mind was who was going to be playing the iconic faces of the Showtime Lakers: Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry Buss.
On Thursday, that question was answered.
According to Deadline, Johnson will be played by Quincy Isaiah, who recently gradutated from drama school graduate and is also from Michigan, the same state Johnson was born and raised. Coincidence? Almost definitely not.
Isaiah only has one acting credit to his name — a six-minute short film titled “Corporate Coffee” — but he looks the part, which is half the battle. There is currently no information on how tall he is compared to Johnson, who is listed at 6’9”.
The same can’t be said of Solomon Hughes, a 6’11” former professional basketball player who was cast to play Abdul-Jabbar. Hughes played for California Berkley in college and most recently played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Hughes doesn’t resemble Abdul-Jabbar as much as Isaiah resembles Johnson, nor does he have a single acting credit, so it’s going to be interesting to see how he does in the role.
Last, but not least, HBO cast two prominent members of the Showtime Lakers’ front office, Dr. Jerry Buss and Jerry West, who will be played by John C. Reily (“Step Brothers”, “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story”) and Jason Clarke (“Zero Dark Thirty”, “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”), respectively. Michael Shannon (“The Shape of Water, “Man of Steel) was originally cast to play Dr. Buss, but exited the film over creative differences, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
We’ll see what else Academy award-winning director Adam McKay has in store for Lakers fans, but it’s shaping up to be quite an intriguing project.