The unbridled hidden face of American football

The unbridled hidden face of American football

George Best, a Manchester United player in the sixties, said that he had spent most of his fortune on women, alcohol and sports cars , and that the rest had been wasted. If he were alive, it is likely that Best had drunk a drink to the health of Ballers and Dwayne Johnson .

‘Ballers’ was an expression that was traditionally used for the great stars of basketball, as we use gamers today for the players who play it. But now it also defines those who stick to the big life, who live excessively, surrounded by luxury and eccentricities , young people who have emerged from nowhere and who, thanks to sports, have become famous, millionaires, envied and admired. . And that they melt what they earn. Or, rather, their environments help them to merge it.

Ballers portrays what happens when the spotlights of the stadium go out and what is the daily life, often not very exemplary, of some elite athletes

The stars of the American football league (NFL) have everything to enjoy fame and fortune , but some squander their health and with it their ability to compete at the highest level. At thirty they are retired and if they have not managed to manage their assets with a head they are broken (injuries in this competition do not forgive), bankrupt and without a plan for the future.

And it is not an exaggeration of fiction, but a very real situation. A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) indicates that 1 out of 6 NFL players end up declaring bankruptcy . How do you go from millionaire contracts to declare bankruptcy? Well, spending as if the money would never end, basically for four reasons:

1. The attraction of having something tangible : athletes prefer to invest in ” touchable ” businesses, such as restaurants or bars, and then crash, instead of investing in a portfolio of low-risk investments. Deuce McAllister, for example, was a New Orleans Saints player who invested some of his $ 70 million fortune in a car rental business. The business left him with debts of seven million and almost seized the house. Now he earns his living as a lecturer.

2. Bad advice : from incompetence to fraud, many players surround themselves with people who advise them badly where and how to spend their money.

3. The family : multimillion-dollar divorces, child support, support for family investments … Chris McAlister, former Baltimore Ravens cornerback , won 50 million in his career, but when he had to go to court because he could not pay alimony to his children. children, he confessed that he was living in his parents’ house because he did not even have a rent to pay.

4. Live big : the retinue, surround yourself with people who spend your money on making you have a good time and not realizing that you are bleeding. Ex-player Terrell Owens ended up doing reality shows with his friends, and now he does not talk to them about economic disputes and earns his living as a model.

This hidden face of the NFL and its stars is what Ballers portrays. That public image of neighborhood boys, with magazine wives, bulging current accounts, cochazos and luxurious mansions, collides with the reality of doors inside . No matter how many stars go, these muscle mountains are still young people who have reached the summit too fast, many of them full of complexes and insecurities, with no tax notions and a retinue of interested chupoptera willing to live at their expense .

It is in this private sphere where the character played by Dwayne Johnson, absolute protagonist and executive producer of Ballers , moves like a fish in water. The Rock fills the screen, and not only for its imposing physique, but for its credible interpretation of Spencer Strasmore , former NFL player turned financial manager of other players, advisor and almost adoptive father.

A role that seems made to measure, as the always impolite suits that looks in the series. And is that Johnson was part of the team Miami Hurricanes of the NCAA for the national championship in 1991, until a back injury stopped his incipient career. This, together with its imposing rocky physique of almost two meters, makes his character transpire authenticity without opening his mouth.

The young promises of the NFL are often neighborhood boys with no tax notions and a retinue of interested suckers willing to live like kings at their expense

After the catharsis of the season finale last season, in this third installment Spencer Strasmore (Dwayne Johnson) returns to work with renewed energy and new and ambitious challenges. Miami, until now its feud of action, begins to remain small and will seek to expand its influence beyond this city where the rich and famous lead a superlative lifestyle. And to achieve it, he will be willing to do everything.

Meanwhile, the rest of the usual suspects accompanying Johnson in this comedy with a bitter and kitsch aftertaste will have to face new (and not always desired) challenges.

Ballers does not want to shake consciences or make the spectator uncomfortable. Only to be placed in the same line of the successful Entourage (the entourage), with which it shares producers and spirit – Stephen Levinson and Mark Wahlberg -, but replacing the world of the actors with that of the elite athletes.

The series offers a funny, carefree and more realistic look than it seems in the NFL football league and the unbridled life outside the pitch of its stars. To the health of George Best.