LeBron James has been a very busy man off the court. He’s developed documentaries for Showtime and HBO, continues to grow his Uninterrupted media platform, is partnering with Channing Tatum for an action comedy, and has about a billion other projects lined up across the television and entertainment industry.
Make it a billion and one.
James’ SpringHill Entertainment company is teaming up with Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons to create a comedy based around his life. Simmons was the #1 overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft after spending a year in college at LSU. Of course, Simmons hails from Australia as his dad Dave was an American-born player who played professionally down under. The series will center on Simmons and his relationship with his multi-ethnic family.
NBC has given a script commitment plus penalty to Brotherly Love, a single-camera comedy from 2018 NBA Rookie of the Year Ben Simmons, NBA superstar LeBron James and his SpringHill Entertainment as well as former Fresh Off the Boat co-executive producer Kourtney Kang.
Written by Kang’s brother, Patrick Kang, and Michael Levin, Brotherly Love is inspired by the life of Ben Simmons and centers on a unique sibling relationship within a multi-ethnic family. Together, they pursue their dreams while navigating life in the spotlight in Philadelphia, a passionate city where sports is in your blood, and your blood is always boiling.
Kourtney Kang executive produces alongside LeBron James and Maverick Carter via their SpringHill Entertainment. Patrick Kang and Michael Levin serve as co-executive producers, while Ben Simmons and his brother Sean Tribe will be consulting producers. Warner Bros. TV, where SpringHill has a deal, is the studio.
There is a lot of shared real-life experience that will be going into crafting the story and characters of the comedy. Simmons was born and raised in Australia to an Australian mother and American-born professional basketball player father. The interracial couple raised their two kids, including Simmons, along with four other half-siblings, including Sean, as one big family.
Simmons may not be the first name that comes to mind for made-for-TV comedies based on NBA stars, but he certainly has an interesting life story that could be expounded upon. The bigger issue for this show actually getting off the ground and finding success is that sitcoms from the sports world have struggled on the whole on network television.
In the past few years we’ve seen pilots from everyone ranging from Colin Cowherd to Mark Schlereth fail to get off the ground. The ones that have made it to air haven’t fared much better. For example, Jason Alexander starred in Listen Up based on the life of Tony Kornheiser and it lasted all of one season. (For what it’s worth, that show was also based in Philadelphia.) Can the starpower of Simmons and James make it work? It’d probably stand a better chance if LeBron was actually starring in it and after seeing his acting chops in Trainwreck, honestly, he’d probably be better than half of what network TV is producing these days.