When it comes to sports-themed entertainment, ‘Ballers’ has held its ground as a fan favorite. It gives its viewers a front-row ticket to the grit, glitz, and glamour of professional sports. The way this show mixes sports, comedy, and drama highly resonates with its audience, making it one of the best shows for people who want to take a peek into the world of athletes and learn how their lives are outside the field. With Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as its executive producer and Stephen Levinson as its creator, the series elevates the storytelling approach that usual sports-centered drama take.
Set in Miami, ‘Ballers’ follows the life of Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL player portrayed by Johnson himself. It peels back the curtain and reveals the complicated lives of people in the sports industry. It also paints a vivid picture of the business side of sports that includes lucrative endorsement deals and cutthroat negotiations. If you are a fan of the show and are hungry for more, you will definitely enjoy watching these 8 shows that capture the same essence. You can watch most of these shows similar to ‘Ballers’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
8. Survivor’s Remorse (2014-2017)
‘Survivor’s Remorse’ explores the world of professional basketball following the life of a young basketball player, Cam Calloway. Portrayed by Jessie T. Usher, Cam finally fulfills his dream of playing in the NBA. However, what he wasn’t ready for were the unique complications his newfound fame would bring to him and his family. The series explores the lives of athletes outside the field, similar to what ‘Ballers’ does. As we delve into the different layers of Cam’s life, we understand the impact fame can have on the personal lives of athletes.
7. The League (2009-2015)
This comedy TV show follows a group of close friends who are obsessed with their fantasy football league. It has an ensemble cast of Mark Duplass, Paul Scheer, Katie Aselton, and Nick Kroll. Throughout the show, we get to explore the dynamics of their friendships and their drive to win. The characters in ‘The League’ share the same close-knit relationships as we have seen in ‘Ballers’. Both these shows highlight the world of sports and the strong bonds it can help create.
6. Playmakers (2003)
‘Playmakers’ is one of the shows that paved the way for the sports dramas of today. It is centered around a fictional football team, the Cougars. As the show delves into the world of professional American football, we uncover the professional as well as personal challenges players, coaches, and staff face. It had a brief run of only 11 episodes, but it still managed to shape the genre and set the stage for shows like ‘Ballers’, which is why it is a notable inclusion in the list.
5. Eastbound & Down (2009-2013)
‘Eastbound & Down’ is the story of Kenny Powers. Back in his day, Kenny used to be a big-league pitcher. However, his fame has now faded. Swallowing his pride, he comes back to his hometown and tries to get back in the spotlight. The character of Kenny is a fascinating one, brilliantly portrayed by Daniel McBride. His personal issues and larger-than-life attitude will make you root for the character. Kenny’s journey of self-discovery parallels the characters in ‘Ballers,’ as both these shows blend dark humor in the stories of ego and redemption.
4. Friday Night Lights (2006-2011)
Unlike some of the other shows on this list, ‘Friday Night Lights’ is set in a small Texas town called Dillon. In this town, high school football is more than just a game; it’s a way of life. The story revolves around the Dillon Panthers, the local high school team, and how their struggles and victories impact the whole community. It’s a story of dreams, desires, and the struggles that come with it. Both ‘Friday Night Lights’ and ‘Ballers’ dig deep into the pressures of fame, the main difference being that the former does it in a small-town setup. These shows delve into how the sports industry is so much more than just two teams playing against each other on a field.
3. Cobra Kai (2018-2023)
‘The Karate Kid’ is a classic film that has been a fan favorite for decades. If you are still not done with Daniel LaRusso and Johnny Lawrence, you can continue the journey through ‘Cobra Kai’. The show follows their story after the events of the 1984 film and brings back their intense rivalry. The series cleverly blurs the lines between the traditional roles of bad guys and good guys. Similar to ‘Ballers,’ this show also showcases the fierce spirit of competition and explores the ways one’s past can impact their present-day actions. They are both set in a world filled with rivalries and brilliantly capture the struggles of the characters.
2. Brockmire (2017-2020)
‘Brockmire’ is a show that delves into the world of baseball. Jim Brockmire has a historic fall from grace after his on-air public meltdown. His once-successful career as a major league baseball announcer takes a nosedive and hits rock bottom. But now, he has a shot at redemption. He gets a chance to be the announcer for a minor league team. During the show, we get the chance to see the quick highs and lows of the sports world, which is the essence of shows like ‘Ballers’. It explores the intricacies of the sports industry through a humorous perspective and is a must-watch.
1. Ted Lasso (2020-2023)
A heartwarming and hilarious gem — the simplest yet best way to describe this amazing show. ‘Ted Lasso’ follows the story of its titular character, Ted. He is an American football coach who becomes the coach of an English soccer team. What he lacks in soccer expertise, he makes up for with his optimism, leadership, and genuine care for his players. Just like ‘Ballers’, we get to take a look into the lives of athletes beyond the fields. With every episode, you will be reminded of the importance of positivity and leadership.
Read More: Best Sports Movies of All Time