Us star Winston Duke is set to play the lead in Apple’s basketball-themed drama series Swagger, which hails from NBA superstar Kevin Durant, the streamer announced Tuesday.
Inspired by Durant’s own experiences, Swagger explores the world of youth basketball, and the players, their families and coaches who walk the fine line between dreams and ambition, as well as opportunism and corruption. Duke will play a former star player who finds a second act as a youth basketball coach — a role he seems well-suited for. I’m just hoping that his character, Ike, is more Charles Barkley than Muggsy Bogues, because a little edge would go a long way here.
Durant will executive produce along with Imagine’s Brian Grazer, Francis Calfo, Rich Kleiman of Durant’s Thirty Five Ventures, and writer-director Reggie Rock Bythewood, who will also serve as showrunner on Swagger. The series is slated to start production this month, and will likely debut on Apple TV Plus at some point next year, when the Durant is expected to return to the court as a member of the New Jersey Nets after sitting out the entire 2019-2020 season.
Swagger hails from Imagine Television Studios and CBS Television Studios, while Imagine’s James Seidman and Thirty Five Ventures’ Sarah Flynn will serve as executives on the project. There hasn’t really been a good basketball-themed TV show, and now it looks like we’ll get two of them, as Adam McKay is also prepping an untitled HBO series about the Showtime-era Lakers that will star John C. Reilly and Jason Clarke.
Duke broke out playing M’Baku in Marvel’s Black Panther, and he briefly reprised his role in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. He also starred opposite Lupita Nyong’o in Jordan Peele‘s hit horror movie Us, and he’ll soon be seen alongside Mark Wahlberg in Peter Berg‘s Boston-set crime drama Wonderland. He’s represented by CAA.