“Ballers” is Better Than Nothing

I’ve been wishing someone (and not Aaron Sorkin) would bring back Sports Night for a while. There are even more cultural issues in sports, media, and the intersection to discuss than there were in the late 90s/early 2000s — or at least there seems to be an appetite for serious discussion of those issues.

Ballers, the new Dwayne Johnson show on HBO, is not that show, but it’s fun enough and just complicated enough that I’m interested. The New York Times article linked here explains that it tries to tackle some of the flip side issues of the exorbitant expenditures we associate with wealthy athletes. It also, in the first two episodes, tries to squeeze in some concerns about substance abuse and even — in what I think is its most interesting potential storyline — the identity issues that plague a person who’s been defined almost solely by physical accomplishment.

So I guess I’ll keep watching. I expect to be let down as this dissolves into an Entourage festival of low stakes and degraded women, but maybe they’ll get to some good stuff before then. Maybe?

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