Netflix’s hit show chronicling the hardest position in American sports is entering the world of basketball, thanks to backing from Lebron James and – wait for it – the Obamas.
According to various reports, the streaming service’s hit show ‘Quarterback’, which followed the lives of three NFL signal-callers – Patrick Mahomes, Kirk Cousins, and Marcus Mariota – could venture into America’s other major sporting code.
After months of speculation, we now know which five stars will feature in the series thanks to mail from chief NBA insider, Shams Charania.
Lebron James, who recently surpassed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar as the NBA’s greatest scorer, and his entertainment organisation SpringHill Company, are teaming with NFL Hall of Famer Peyton Manning’s Omaha Productions, to create a new ‘Quarterback’-inspired show geared towards the National Basketball Association.
Manning, a dual-Super Bowl champion, was an executive producer on the hit series.
Released in July of 2023, the series captivated audiences with incredible insights into the lives of some of their favourite stars, chronicling the trials and tribulations of NFL QBs with varying degrees of skills and success.
What do we know about Netflix’s Quarterback-inspired NBA series?
Aside from the fact Lebron and Manning are in discussions to produce the series, with the support from Barack and Michelle Obama, as well as which five players are featuring in it, there are still a few unknowns about the project at this stage.
It’s also reported that the NBA is involved in the discussions. Adam Silver and league executives have likely seen the incredible benefits of Quarterback, as well as Netflix’s pioneering show Drive to Survive that’s followed Formula 1’s rabid fanfare for many years now.
The latter has been credited with increasing Formula 1’s global appeal, dragging thousands of new fans into the sports fandom net.
For the NBA, which is one of the USA’s most popular sports, the show could prove a valuable introduction into the streaming world, which is increasingly lucrative and could potentially become the home of live sports in the coming years.
Soon-to-be former Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban, recently told the All The Smoke podcast, hosted by former players Stephen Jackson and Matt Barnes, that cracking the streaming market will be critical in upcoming NBA media-rights deals.
So, which stars are the series spotlighting?
Reportedly, it’s Domantas Sabonis, Anthony Edwards, Lebron James, Jayson Tatum and Jimmy Butler
It wouldn’t feel right if it didn’t feature Lebon James, wouldn’t it? The current Lakers star and league all-time top scorer has been confirmed as one of the show’s five protagonists. With Lebron unable to reverse time meaning his record-shattering, logic-defying career is drawing to a close, the documentary will provide unparalleled insights into what it takes to be arguably basketball’s greatest-ever player.
At 40, though playing like a man half his age, there is more to Lebron’s game than meets the eye. What does his training routine look like? How’s his diet? How does he prime his mind to consistently blitz double teams and excel at a time when many other former stars are years into retirement?
Eager fans will now receive unparalleled insight into just what makes Lebron James tick as hear nears a Brady-esque, medical science-defining phase of his career. While no finer details are confirmed, it’s reported the series is covering the 2023-24 season, one of inconsistency for Lebron James’ Lakers.
This means we are unlikely to get behind-the-scenes access to Lebron potentially featuring alongside his son, Bronny. We will, however. see a similarly poignant storyline play out, much like in the Jason Kelce documentary, where we’re provided with an inside look at the physical, mental, and personal challenges an athlete nearing their retirement faces.
Outside of Lebron James, four other stars have been confirmed as featuring in the series’ inaugural season: Minnesota’s Anthony Edwards, Boston’s Jayson Tatum, Miami’s Jimmy Butler, and perhaps surprisingly, Sacramento’s Domantas Sabonis.
In Edwards, Netflix and the production team have selected one of the brightest prospects, and funniest characters, in the league today. The first overall pick in the 2020 draft, Edwards’ performances in the past two seasons have elevated to a status few have held before him; the future face of the league.
With his Minnesota Timberwolves flying-high and, dare we say, title contenders, the Edwards storyline is one of the series’ most interesting; how exactly will a young star manage expectations of reviving a franchise? What impact does this have on their mentality?
Speaking of youth, Jayson Tatum, one of the current faces of the NBA, is another interesting star to spotlight. In his young career so far, Tatum and the Boston Celtics have been as close to championship glory as you can be without tasting it.
An effortless scorer, and the leader of a consistently frightening Eastern Conference proposition, Tatum’s presence on the show is sure to attract many eyeballs, especially when considering the fervent global fanbase Boston’s previous success has garnered. Could we get a behind-the-scenes look at a potential championship-winning side? Only time will tell.
Down in Miami, Jimmy Butler is another of the league’s finest characters. Infamously charging fellow stars for coffee during the COVID bubble, Butler is a ball of humour off the court. You only need to see how he rocked up to the 2023-24 season Media Day to understand this.
On the court, Butler is a different beast. Fiercely competitive and highly skilled, even when the odds are stacked against him and the Heat there remains the slightest hope of achieving the impossible when Butler’s on the floor.
It’s a highly enticing, and realistic, probability that Butler’s Heat and Tatum’s Celtic battle it out deep into the NBA Playoffs, and that this documentary is there following every minute of the action.
Finally, we have Domantas Sabonis. The Lithuanian star is a surprise selection for the show. Basketball purists, however, will relish the Kings’ star big’s inclusion in the show. Sabonis’ game perfectly exemplifies a new era of NBA centres, those who can control and facilitate the team around them much like quarterbacks in the NFL.
While his inclusion is somewhat surprising, especially considering the calibre of star he’s selected ahead, Sabonis has been a core element in the Kings’ recent turnaround, which saw them end their lengthy playoff drought, and his combination and chemistry with point-guard De’Aaron Fox is league-leading.