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“Ballers” was never a serious show. Stephen Levinson’s HBO pseudo-comedy kept the stakes low even in its last season, offering a glammed-up glimpse into the life of ex-NFL great Spencer Strasmore (played by a besuited Dwayne Johnson). Big-spending led to big paychecks, which led to even more spending and greater paychecks until Spencer had amassed enough riches to be a serious NFL ownership candidate. Audiences never had to wonder if ol’ Spence was going to be okay, simply if he’d be able to afford the pricey things he desired — his own agency, acquisition of other agencies, and an NFL club.
Nonetheless, real difficulties arose, such as a tagging-along tax on all that large money being flung around. The real world threaded its way into “Ballers” as Levinson and his writing team looked for fitting difficulties for these uber-rich protagonists. However, rather than addressing pertinent issues like CTE, corporate censorship, and racial injustice, the series fought its way back to neutrality. Such maneuvering aided in maintaining the comfortable watching experience desired for HBO’s ultimate guilty pleasure, but the guilt of what wasn’t stated frequently eclipsed the pleasures of what did make it to screen.
Which Ballers Tv Show Character Are You?
Spencer suffers from major medical concerns early on. He is concerned about his fertility. He’s filled with remorse for irreversibly harming another athlete. He becomes addicted to pain relievers. But all of those concerns are resolved by a stroke of luck or a stroke of privilege. Doctors assist a little (since his new employer-provided medical insurance that the NFL did not), and Spencer buys his way into the good graces of that battered ex-athlete. Also, you must try to play this Which Ballers Tv Show Character Are You quiz.
Then there were the bigger issues. While early episodes dealt with CTE issues, subsequent seasons began to address NFL ownership. Season 3 focuses on Spencer’s efforts to bring a professional football club to Las Vegas, which brings to mind the severe financial debt communities incur when submitting to the NFL’s stadium demands, while Season 5 examines the league’s racial wealth and power disparities (without commenting on Colin Kaepernick). Spencer wishes to purchase an NFL team and become the sport’s first black owner.
His historic new job is in peril as the series concludes. Why? Spencer talks with the NFL Players Association in order to obtain lifetime health insurance for veteran athletes. Now, the NFL does not currently provide lifetime health insurance – not in “Ballers,” and not in real life. It’s been a sticking point in early negotiations, along with a raft of other issues that split wealthy white ownership and the black athletes who risk their lives for less than half the money. So, while it’s nice to watch Spencer use his position of power to fight for the underdog, it’s also a reminder that his onscreen goal is a fantasy.
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If that’s a problem “Ballers” can’t or won’t address, there are plenty others it can’t or won’t address. Take Vernon (Donovan W. Carter), the Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle who has been hampered by injuries throughout the season. He’s just fallen in love with competitive gaming, so much so that he informs his friend (and manager) Reggie (London Brown) that he wants to resign from football and game full-time. That may seem absurd to football fans or anyone who can’t conceive passing up hundreds of millions of dollars, but it’s becoming a more normal and accepted option. Consider Andrew Luck, the All-Pro quarterback for the Indianapolis Colts who surprised the nation this year by retiring at the age of 29. He’s been harmed numerous times over his career, yet he chose to retain his mental and physical faculties rather than cash in for huge sums.
Vernon’s new love is simply regarded as a mental break here as if he’s insane to consider leaving the NFL for another career – one that he happens to be quite good at. The same may be said of Ricky Jerret (John David Washington), who makes movies instead of viewing game tapes. It’s not that he should or even feels compelled to go; he simply does so because he’s a baller, and ballers do whatever they want.