Don’t be fooled by the stereotypes you may have heard about retirement: For ex-NFL players, it isn’t all about golf courses, Bingo Nights and vacation homes in Miami.
Well, actually, the Miami part is true.
But for retired Miami Dolphins linebacker Spencer Strasmore — the protagonist of HBO’s sports comedy Ballers, played by San Andreas‘ Dwayne Johnson — his post-pro football life isn’t quite what he imagined. Despite living in a beautiful Florida home, with a gorgeous woman on his arm, Spencer’s new career as a financial consultant to the current NFL stars isn’t fulfilling him.
Spencer spends most of the premiere episode trying to rehabilitate Ricky’s image, and ultimately lands the hot-headed player a meeting with the Miami Dolphins coach (Chicago Hope‘s Peter Berg, who also directed this episode). The coach initially dismisses Ricky when he is a minute late for their crucial meeting, but is later impressed by Ricky’s drive and offers him a spot on the team.
Ballers‘ Sunday-night debut is abundant in a lot of things, namely football jargon, scantily clad women and strong-enough writing to warrant a few genuine belly laughs. What it lacks, though — much like Ricky Jerret himself — is a clear creative focus, and that could be reason enough for the HBO comedy to fumble.