Remember the ESPN original series “Playmakers?” While no actual NFL teams or logos were used in the show, it was quite clear that “Playmakers” was supposed to be an inside look at what life is like for NFL players. When the events in the show included binging on cocaine and submitting fake urine samples for drug testing, ESPN was pressured to nix it.
On Thursday, Deadline.com reported that HBO has picked up a similar series called “Ballers.” The show will star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington, who will be making his acting debut. The Rock is also producing the series with Mark Wahlberg.
The Rock will play a retired professional football player and Washington will be a “highly competitive and highly spiritual” pro athlete.
As Pro Football Talk noted, the series could create some issues for HBO if it is anything like “Playmakers.” The NFL works with HBO on “Hard Knocks,” and the league is almost certain to have an issue with “Ballers” if it paints the NFL in a negative light. Should the show become a success, HBO will probably have no issue giving up on “Hard Knocks.”