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How ‘Luke Cage’ Creator Cheo Hodari Coker Got Jemele Hill, Michael Smith, Todd Bowles Cameos

Everyone’s a fan of everyone, including the ESPN hosts and New York Jets coach

Sometimes, being a super fan might just land you a cameo on your favorite show.

That’s how former ESPN “SportsCenter” hosts Jemele Hill and Michael Smith landed that cameo on Season 2 of “Marvel’s Luke Cage” in a scene where Luke (Mike Colter) works out with New York Jets head coach Todd Bowles to see just how strong he is after surviving a Judas Bullet.

“[Hill and Smith] were very supportive of us; they had Mike [Colter] on when we launched ‘Luke Cage’ [Season 1],” series creator and showrunner Cheo Hodari Coker told TheWrap in an interview ahead of the Season 2 launch. “So I was like, yo, with them being super fans, I wanted to incorporate them into the show.”

Coker said that he’s a “huge sports fan” himself, and loved Hill and Smith’s “SC6” version of “SportsCenter,” but bringing them on was about more than mutual adoration. Coker said that they wanted to bring some of the real world into Luke Cage’s Harlem.

“We knew that we wanted to make it real. Like what would Luke Cage be like in a real situation? So for that authenticity, that’s why we ultimately reached out to Todd Bowles, and was glad that Todd embraced it, and had fun with it,” he said.

Coker added that placing superheroes next to real-world figures is something that sets Marvel characters apart.

“The difference between a Marvel superhero and a DC superhero is that we place Marvel superheroes in the real world that we recognize and that we know,” Coker said. “And so to place someone like Luke Cage in a scenario with people that were covering it the way they would cover it, it just makes it fun.”

“Luke Cage” Season 2 premieres on Friday, June 22 on Netflix. 

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