Jason Segel (How I Met Your Mother) has been cast to play Paul Westhead in the upcoming HBO drama series about the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers basketball team. Created by Adam McKay (Succession, Vice), the as of yet untitled project is based on the novel Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s written by Jeff Pearlman (Sweetness), as reported by Deadline.
Following the 1980s L.A. Lakers team during what’s known as the Showtime era, Westhead was a Shakespeare professor who left his job to become an assistant coach on the team. Segel recently appeared in the AMC anthology series Dispatches From Elsewhere. Along with starring in it, he also served as writer, director, and producer.
It was also just announced today that actor, stand-up comedian, and director Bo Burnham (Promising Young Woman) will star as legendary NBA player Larry Bird, via Deadline. Playing on the Boston Celtics, Bird contributed to the heated rivalry the two teams had throughout the 1980s which drew in massive media attention. Burnham just starred in the critically acclaimed and Oscar nominated 2020 film Promising Young Woman. He made his directorial debut in 2018 with the award winning film Eighth Grade.
The cast will feature Solomon Hughes, a Stanford lecturer and Harlem Globetrotter, as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Quincy Isaiah (Corporate Coffee) as Magic Johnson, DeVaughn Nixon (The Runaways) as Norm Nixon, and Delante Desouza (Distorted Reality) as Michael Cooper.
Additionally, the series includes Sally Field (Dispatches from Elsewhere) as Jessie Buss, Adrien Brody (The Grand Budabest Hotel) as Pat Riley, John C. Reilly (The Sisters Brothers) as Jerry Buss, Jason Clarke (The Devil All The Time) as Jerry West, Michael Chiklis (The Shield) as Red Auerbach, Stephen Adly Guirgis (Meet Joe Black) as Frank Mariani, Tamera Tomakili (Fruitvale Station) as Earletha “Cookie” Kelly, Joey Brooks (The Big Short) as Lon Rosen, Molly Gordon (Booksmart) as Linda Zafrani,Rob Morgan (Mudbound) as Earvin Johnson Sr., Spencer Garrett (The Front Runner) as Chick Hearn, and Kirk Bovill (Just Mercy) as Donald Sterling.
McKay will direct the pilot of the series. An Academy-Award winner, he won best adapted screenplay for The Big Short in 2016. He went on to be nominated for Best Director and Best Original Screenplay for his film Vice in 2019. McKay will also co-executive produce alongside Kevin Messick (Succession), Jim Hecht (A Wizard’s Tale), Jason Shuman (Anger Managment), Scott Stephens (True Detective), and Rodney Barnes (American Gods).