An untitled HBO series about the Los Angeles Lakers has just added two very tall actors to its roster. According to Variety, Bo Burnham — who is six-foot-five inches tall and blond — will play Larry Bird, who is actually a whopping six-foot-nine inches tall, but like, suspension of disbelief, you know? The slightly shorter Jason Segel, who stands at six-foot-four inches, will play Paul Westhead, who leaves his job as a professor of Shakespeare behind to assistant-coach the team — presumably because he is simply too tall for academia. The show, which has Adam McKay (six-foot-five inches) as its executive producer, will center around the personal and professional lives of the Lakers in the 1980s, when the team won five NBA championships in what is known as the “Showtime Era.”
The show is already stacked with tall talent, with John C. Reilly playing Jerry Buss, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, and Adrian Brody playing Lakers coach Pat Riley. Solomon Hughes will make his professional acting debut as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar along with newcomer Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson. But the show will also include actors who are under six feet, with the five-foot-three inch Sally Field set to play Jerry Buss’s mother, and Michael Chiklis as Boston Celtics coach Red Auerbach. But on the whole, this is a cast that definitely can’t sit in coach without hurting their knees.
Update 8/20, 3:08 p.m.: Variety is reporting that Bo Burnham will no longer be appearing as Larry Bird due to scheduling conflicts. He is being replaced by relative newcomer Sean Patrick Small. The series also added The Falcon and the Winter Soldier’s Olli Haaskivi as Nike founder Phil Knight, This Is Us’s Rachel Hilson as Magic Johnson’s girlfriend Cindy Day, along with Newton Mayenge and Jon Young as Jim Chones and Brad Holland, respectively.