Los Angeles basketball is the hot new thing on television, even if neither team is doing especially well in the actual NBA season, but maybe that’s why dramatizations about the exciting events in L.A. basketball history have become big business? Either way, HBO has Winning Time, Adam McKay’s series about the Showtime Lakers and their championship dynasty (starring John C. Reilly, Quincy Isaiah, and Solomon Hughes), and now FX is getting into the game with The Sterling Affairs, a limited series about the L.A. Clippers that… sounds like a lot less fun.
The show is based on the ESPN podcast of the same name, and as indicated by the title, it will revolve around “the downfall” of team owner Donald Sterling, who was heard making a bunch of racist comments in a leaked recording. Within days, NBA players began protesting and league commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the NBA and enacted (long and complicated) proceedings to force him and his wife (who weren’t on especially solid ground at the time, if you can believe that) to sell the team.
Rather than focusing on Sterling, though, it sounds like the series will focus on Doc Rivers, the Clippers’ coach at the time, who will be played by Laurence Fishburne. Opposite him will be Jacki Weaver, playing Donald Sterling’s wife, Shelly, but the press release announcing this stuff doesn’t say who will be playing Sterling himself yet. (Though, if the idea is “this is what the team was going through as Sterling detonated,” you could probably get away with not including the famous racist, if FX was so inclined.)
The Sterling Affairs will be written by Gina Welch, who previously worked on Feud: Bette And Joan and Castle Rock, both of which have a bit of relevance to this project. It’s sort of about a feud, for starters, and the idea of there being a second basketball team in Los Angeles that nobody has ever heard of is the kind of creepy twist that only Stephen King would imagine. (This news story was written by a Chicago White Sox fan, so know that any jokes about the Clippers come from a place of love and understanding.)