The return of Ballers is imminent, even if it’s being massively overshadowed by that other ultra-popular HBO show finally returning. But forget about Iron Thrones, dragons, and White Walkers for a minute, because it’s time to get hyped for a completely different kind of comeback.
Ballers, which stars Dwayne Johnson and Rob Corddry as a couple of guys trying to make it big in the sports business, will kick off its third season in mid-July, bringing back that “Entourage, but for sports” vibe that has made it a fairly successful show over the past two years. If you’ve seen the trailer for Season 3, you’ll know that it’s promising bigger and better things. Plus it’s a great way to wind down right after all the serious brooding and death that comes with Game of Thrones, which airs right before Ballers does.
Here’s our Season 3 wishlist for Ballers:
This show is always trying to exist on the edge of real-life, and one of the ways it does that is by having multiple cameos from famous people in the sports industry. Even Fox Sports reporter Jay Glazer has become a bit of a recurring character, playing a fictionalized version of himself. Other notable cameos include Steven Jackson, Antonio Brown, DeSean Jackson, Terrell Suggs, and Don Shula.
We’ve already seen a snippet of Steph Curry in one of the teaser trailers, but we’re excited to see who else Ballers might have lined up to play a part this season. Grabbing the two-time NBA MVP is already a pretty solid get, so hopefully there are some more recognizable faces showing up to keep realism going.
Resolution to Forgotten Storylines
Okay, maybe we’re being a little harsh in saying these things have been forgotten completely. But the trailer definitely doesn’t make any mention of Spencer’s worrisome addiction to prescription painkillers, the whereabouts of Spencer’s semi-serious love interest Tracy (Arielle Kebbel), or Andy Garcia’s Andre Allen character, who has been a rival of Spencer for brief parts of the first couple of seasons.
It appears that the primary location of the series has switched from Miami to Los Angeles, with large portions of Las Vegas thrown in the mix (rumors around the internet suggest it was cheaper to film in L.A.). It also looks like Spencer will spending most of his time focusing on bringing a football team to Vegas, which makes us wonder whether the show will forget about his actual athlete clients, who need representation and money management. Let’s hope not.
More Ricky Jerret
John David Washington does an excellent job of playing the talented but indecisive NFL wide receiver Ricky Jerret. However, his character has taken a bit of a back seat in the most recent episodes as Spencer and Joe concentrate on building their firm up. It’s a classic case of spending so much time trying to attract new clients and new investments, and they risk forgetting their existing (and loyal) responsibilities.
When we last left Ricky, he was trying to decide which contract offer to take. With the series moving to the West Coast, perhaps a new wrinkle could be thrown in that has Rickey becoming a member of the Chargers or the Raiders. Either way, Ballers can only survive on The Rock’s charisma for so long. Supporting characters like Ricky go a long way in keeping things interesting.
A Solid Antagonist
We’ve already touched briefly on Andre Allen (Andy Garcia) as Spencer’s former-business-partner-turned-nemesis. Hopefully he plays a part in Season 3. But beyond that, Ballers really needs a strong bad guy for the upcoming ten episodes. Judging from the trailer, Spencer’s attempts to bring an NFL team to Vegas are met with resistance from a number of different directions. Whether it’s a local politician or a rival businessman, Ballers would be well serviced by having some of the conflict be caused by another character instead of simple bad luck or Spencer and Joe’s rookie mistakes. This guy from the trailer looks a likely candidate:
The Rock Being The Rock
Out of all the points on our wishlist, this one is easily the one thing most guaranteed to happen. Quite simply, one of the main reasons we tune into Ballers (other than it being on right after Game of Thrones) is that Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is simply incredibly fun to watch. The former pro wrestler has become a legit Hollywood A-lister. His snappy delivery and undeniable charisma are a big part of his success, and both are on full display in Ballers.
Johnson actually played football for the University of Miami and even tried in the luck in the Canadian Football League before turning to pro wrestling. So he fits right in with Ballers semi-fictional football universe. Of course, The Rock seems so damn cool that he can pretty much do anything. He can go from performing goofy skits as the guest host of Saturday Night Live to being a major action star in the latest Fast & the Furious flick with ease. The man can do no wrong, it seems.
Unfortunately for Ballers, they got scooped by the real world. Their new season, which would have been filmed a while ago, is all about Spencer trying to bring an NFL team to Las Vegas. Too bad that the real-life Oakland Raiders recently gained approval to move to Vegas, in a decision that was approved by the NFL and announced in March 2017. It kind of renders the entire plotline of this season obsolete before it even airs.
Howver, Vegas is a magical town of vice and debauchery. Since Ballers is an HBO show, we’re hoping they explore all that Sin City has to offer. We fully expect Spencer and Joe to engage in all sorts of partying, gambling, womanizing, and whatever other shenanigans Vegas has to offer (did we see someone driving a monster truck in the trailer? Yeah, we did!). It’s Vegas, baby! Let the city shine bright!
Even though Ballers is a serialized show, the writers never seem to do a lot different. Spencer has a great idea on how to grow the business and make some cash, except something gets in the way. Or one of his clients is on the verge of signing a major contract, only for the deal to fall through at the last minutes because of… circumstances. It’s almost exactly the same as the revolving plot of Entourage, where Vinny Chase almost goes broke while waiting for his next big break to finally emerge. There’s a reason Ballers gets compared to Entourage so often.
In season three, we’d really like to see the show try something new. And it looks like they will at least try, as Spencer’s business expands West. We are a little worried, however, that it will be more of the same — that even when Spencer loses, a new promising opportunity just materializes out of thin air to keep the narrative going. We don’t want the overall tone of the show to change, but hopefully HBO will dare to give us something new to keep us interested in Season Four and beyond.
Who Turns Heel?
We’re borrowing a wrestling term here, but we think it’s appropriate given The Rock’s famous roots as a multi-time WWE champion. For anyone who doesn’t know, to “turn heel” is to become the bad guy of a storyline. In the case of Ballers, we have to think that eventually, one of Spencer’s former allies will turn on him. It probably won’t be Joe, but Ricky, Vernon, or Mr. Anderson would all make great candidates to suddenly turn on Spencer and try to drive him out of business.
If the show can manage to do something like a heel turn successfully, they will have succeeded in our last point of doing something new. Honestly, the show is an easy watch with its half-hour run time and easy-to-follow plot, and that’s great. But we really don’t want it to fall into the same rut that Entourage did, or the rut that Silicon Valley is in danger of falling into if they don’t introduce something new. So we hope for some sort of shocking character switch that will keep things exciting.