HBO’s 1980s LA Lakers Series Adds Sean Patrick Small as Larry Bird

Adam McKay series also brings on Olli Haaskivi as Nike founder Phil Knight

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Adam McKay’s upcoming (and still untitled) series about the 1980s-era Los Angeles Lakers has added two more key characters to its expansive roster: Larry Bird and Nike founder Phil Knight.

Sean Patrick Small will star as Bird, the Boston Celtics legend, whose memorable rivalry with Magic Johnson defined the NBA during that decade. Olli Haaskivi will play Knight, who co-founded Nike with Bill Bowerman in 1964, back when it was known as “Blue Ribbon Sports.”

Additional new castmembers announced Friday include Rachel Hilson as Cindy Day, a girlfriend of Magic Johnson, Newton Mayenge as veteran NBA forward Jim Chones and Jon Young as Lakers’ player Brad “Potsie” Holland.

Bo Burhnam had been in consideration for the role, but an individual with knowledge of the project told TheWrap that the actor-director was not able to be involved due to scheduling conflicts.

Based on the Jeff Pearlman book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” the untitled show will dramatize the professional and personal lives of the team, described in the series logline as “one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.”

McKay is director and executive producer on the series, which is written by Max Borenstein. Jim Hecht, Jason Shuman and Kevin Messick of McKay’s production company also executive produce alongside Scott Stephens and co-EP Rodney Barnes.

Jason Clarke stars as Jerry West, the “cantankerous tortured genius of basketball” and one-time Lakers general manager. John C. Reilly will play former Lakers owner Jerry Buss, with Quincy Isaiah and Solomon Hughes as former Lakers legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, respectively. Adrien Brody will play legendary Lakers coach Pat Riley, who led the team to four NBA championships in the ’80s.

Additional cast members include Michael Chiklis as Red Auerbach, Sally Field as Jessie Buss, Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss, Spencer Garrett as legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, Delante Desouza as Michael Cooper and Kirk Bovill as former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.


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