After generating a significant amount of fanfare when the casting decision was announced back in March, comedian Bo Burnham will no longer be playing NBA legend Larry Bird in an HBO series based on the L.A. Lakers. According to sources, Burnham, who won critical acclaim for his role in the best picture-nominated Promising Young Woman, had to exit the project due to scheduling conflicts. Via Variety:
Sean Patrick Small will instead play Bird. Bird is described as a basketball star who hates the spotlight; preferring instead: Budweiser, ratty jeans, and brutally, ruthlessly destroying his opponents on the court. He and Magic Johnson, who have been pitted against one another since their legendary NCAA championship duel, continue their rivalry for the next decade.
The HBO series is currently in production, and executive producer Adam McKay has already directed the pilot. While the show has no official title yet, it’s based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. According to Deadline, “the fast-break series chronicles the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined its era both on and off the court.”
Even without Burnham, the show still features an all-star cast that includes Michael Chiklis as Red Auerbach, Sally Field as Jessie Buss, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, John C. Reilly as Jerry Buss, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson, Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Jason Segel as Paul Westhead.