Johannesburg - Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson knows entertainment. He’s still one of the biggest names in WWE wrestling despite retiring years ago and his movies (like 2015 disaster blockbuster San Andreas) make hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office.
And thanks to sports comedy Ballers (2015-current), the 44-year-old is setting records and managing to annoy American Football by revealing secrets of the industry in his role as retired NFL player turned financial manager Spencer Strasmore.
The hit show was just renewed for a third season, expected next year, and season 2 is currently airing on DStv. That’s why now is the perfect time to catch up and watch season 1 which just launched on ShowMax, where all 10 episodes are available to binge-view. Why? Parties! Drama! Action! Comedy! And big tackles!
1. It’s just like real life
In Ballers, Dwayne plays pro athlete manager Spencer, who’s blown his many millions and is trying to help his new clients save their cash while making an honest living on the side. Which is something The Rock knows a thing or two about – his ex-wife Dany Garcia is a financial guru and they owned a wealth management company together in Miami, where Ballers is set. Plus, The Rock has built a networth of over US$125m, so he’s nobody’s fool.
And in yet another case of art imitating life, The Rock’s also a former footballer. “I had all my old friends calling to ask me to make it real and authentic,” says the star, who also serves as one of Ballers’ executive producers. As for having lived that lifestyle, before joining the WWE in 1995, he was the star defensive tackle for the championship-winning Miami Hurricanes football team. “So I know a bit about a bit, if you know what I mean?” he says.
Daddy fits. ?? Ball out. #ballers #Season2 #HBO #MiamiA photo posted by therock (@therock) on Feb 1, 2016 at 4:14pm PST
Daddy fits. ?? Ball out. #ballers #Season2 #HBO #Miami
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on Feb 1, 2016 at 4:14pm PST
2. Controversy and criticism
But while fans – and critics – are loving the show, it seems some NFL stars and a lot of coaches aren’t impressed with Ballers, with some trainers even banning their players from getting cameos.
The HBO series was renewed after its first episode last year and has an 80% fresh rating on entertainment reference site RottenTomatoes.com, but says actor John David Washington, “Some players are like, ‘Don't tell all our secrets, man – some stuff has got to stay in-house!’ That means we're keeping it real, which is fun.” John plays Spencer’s temperamental and fun-loving client Ricky Jerrett and he was a real-life NFP player. Also, he’s the son of acting legend Denzel Washington!
So what’s real on Ballers? Ricky’s “fun house” (a secret home away from his girlfriend where he’s got a bedroom with cheesy romantic music and a revolving bed), parties on expensive private yachts full of pretty girls and enough expensive champagne to fill a pool and even being blackmailed by a one-night-stand – it all happens!
And so are the contract talks between Spencer, his partner Joe (Rob Codry) and their clients, which makes up the drama part of Ballers. Not into numbers and not sure what they mean by things like “75 over 5 years, with 15 guaranteed”? Don’t worry – there’s a lot more to look forward to.
$1 million cash. In a bag. Sometimes it ain't about what you got to give, but how you give it. #ballers #Season2 #HBO THIS JULY ??A photo posted by therock (@therock) on Feb 4, 2016 at 8:05am PST
$1 million cash. In a bag. Sometimes it ain't about what you got to give, but how you give it. #ballers #Season2 #HBO THIS JULY ??
A photo posted by therock (@therock) on Feb 4, 2016 at 8:05am PST
3. Big-hit storylines
Ballers is lifting the lid on what it’s like to be a real athlete – from their perspective. Being cut by your team without notice, getting a “normal” job as a car salesman when you’re used to stadiums full of fans, medical issues like arthritis and blacking out from years of punishing your body – Ballers is brutally honest.
But before that, it’s entertainment at its best. If you liked 1999 NFL-themed movie Any Given Sunday with Jamie Foxx and Al Pacino, settle in… because you’re in for the game of your life with Ballers.
See the trailer here:
Go to showmax.com now to sign up for your free trial and start binging on Ballers.
(Sources: amny.com, cinemablend.com, IMDB.com, independent.co.uk, inverse.com, msn.com, Rottentomatoes.com)
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