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PLAY BALL

THE BREAKOUT STAR OF HBO'S FOOTBALL COMEDY KNOWS WHAT IT'S LIKE TO BE A REAL NFL PLAYER—NOT JUST TO PLAY ONE ON TV
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WATCH

BALLERS

Aug. 12 at 10 p.m., on HBO

HBO's hit comedy, returning for its fourth season, stars Dwayne (the Rock) Johnson as a former NFL player turned financial manager. While Johnson's Spencer Strasmore oozes charm, what gives the show its heart are his clients. Says John David Washington(above, right), who plays Ricky Jerret, a wide receiver he describes as "action packed with issues": "[The show] humanizes them. It gives a fun insight into the business and how the players get treated. It looks into a world most people don't know about." Washington would know about the issues facing a hungry young player chasing his NFL dream. The running back from Morehouse College, who set school records for rushing yards and is starring in Spike Lee's new movie, BlacKkKlansman, spent two years on the St. Louis Rams' practice squad.

WATCH

WNBA PLAYOFFS

beginning on Aug. 21, on ESPN2

The Atlanta Dream have the WNBA's best defense, and now their offense is rolling too, making forward Angel McCoughtry & Co. dark-horse candidates to win the team's first title.

READ

BOOM TOWN

by Sam Anderson, out Aug. 21

An engrossing civics lesson masquerading as a sports book, the literary debut of New York Times Magazine writer Sam Anderson tells the story of Oklahoma City through the lens of the 2012--13 Thunder.

LISTEN

ORIGINS OF A CHAMPION

available on Aug. 8

The third chapter of the Origins podcast, hosted by James Andrew Miller (Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN), looks inside Alabama's immense success and features interviews with Nick Saban, Lane Kiffin and for some reason, Joe Girardi.