This is too good to be true, and we doubt it sees the light of day (remember ESPN’s Playmakers?), but Variety reports Phil Jackson is attached to a new Showtime drama surrounding a family behind a professional basketball franchise. It’s a clear example of art imitating life, and we’re already getting Showtime just in case.
Less than a week ago, I wrote a forced simile saying that the “Lakers organization is like a really entertaining and well-acted soap opera with high production costs.” Prescient, I know, but it turns out it might be even better: a Showtime drama!
Showtime is developing a one-hour scripted series that takes a peek behind the scenes of a professional basketball team, with NBA coaching great Phil Jackson and current Los Angeles Lakers assistant coach Kurt Rambis on board as exec producers. The series will focus on the family that owns the team, according to details provided by the CBS Corp. pay-cable service.
Ron Shelton, the creative talent behind such noted sports movies as “Bull Durham,” “Tin Cup” and “White Men Can’t Jump,” will write, direct and exec produce the project.
And Jackson’s beau, fiancé Jeanie Buss is also attached. She’s already said her experiences behind the scenes both managing events and in her capacity as the executive vice president of the Lakers, will inform the stories being told.
We are giddy thinking about all the Lakers parallels and the casting for a fatuous character implicitly based on Jim Buss. Said Jeanie:
“We’ve seen so much, the things that go on behind the scenes,” she said. “We go to events and people ask us a lot of questions about what they don’t see. They know the game. They see the game, but they don’t really know what leads up to getting the team on the court.” Most people “don’t know what makes a championship season or what it’s like to go through a losing season.”
The chance to work on the project came together after Buss and others were able to meet with Shelton, she said. “He is someone that understands a good sports story, and we just really clicked,” she said.
All three of Shelton’s movies mentioned above — despite two of them featuring Kevin Costner — are all-time sports movie classics and White Men Can’t Jump is in the top 5 basketball movies of all-time despite the laughable ball skills of Wesley Snipes. Shelton knows ball, and his presence — plus the Zen Master and his savvy future wife — means this will be gobbled up by basketball fans everywhere. Especially those in LA.
What do you think?
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