This week, Deadspin and Jezebel swap beats to celebrate America’s most dangerous and controversial pastimes: football and fashion, two sports that have far more in common than you think.

In a clip I found on the Extras section of the HBO Go website, British actor-who-you-haven’t-thought-about-since-like-2011 Russell Brand talks about his new role on the Rob Corddry-driven, Senator Elizabeth Warren-endorsed comedic television show Ballers, which was nominated for a 2018 Primetime Emmy in the category, “Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (Half-Hour) and Animation.”

Advertisement

“Ehhhh, I like being on Ballers,” he said, but it sounded more like he was saying Boulers. “It’s an incredible creation. Very beautifully put together show.”

If there’s one thing we can all agree on it’s that BLTs are very good sandwiches, but the second thing is that Ballers is a “beautifully put together show.” Haven’t seen it? Here’s a haiku I wrote to explain what it’s about:

The Rock in tight suits
Balling can be hard sometimes
Entourage but sports

It’s Entourage but sports. Or maybe it’s Lost but sports?

As far as I can remember, I haven’t actually watched an episode of Ballers in my life. But it’s also possible that there has never been a time when I have not been watching Ballers. From the second it premiered in 1985, the show about The Rock and his pal Rob Corddry doing deals, hanging out with athletes, doing deals that involve hanging out with athletes, hitting drugs pretty hard, meeting ladies who are not dressed for church, if you get my meaning, and occasionally getting in trouble with Andy Garcia—who I’m going to say right now is extremely hot—has been flowing through my bloodstream like a wicked ghost. It’s The Barefoot Contessa but sports.

Advertisement

The fact that Ballers was the number-one most-watched “comedy” on HBO in six years when it premiered in 2015 (“That puts Ballers third all-time among HBO comedies, behind Sex and the City (10.3 million) and the first season of Hung in 2009 (9.3 million)”) should not be surprising. The Rock has a beautiful smile. Ricky Jerret is played by Denzel Washington’s similarly charismatic son John David Washington. The autoplay function on your HBO has been overactive lately. I’ve now told you to watch this show on three different websites in four years. Am I the Balldogs’ best hypeman or am I their worst enemy?

It’s Fashion Week, so let’s roll with it*. (*Something only a real baller would say.) If we know anything about the lifestyle of balling, it’s that looking good is as important as doing good... deals. But if we’ve learned one thing from watching the dramedy Ballers it’s that—especially when it comes to a well-placed pocket square and a three-piece suit—there are the balls, the Ballers, and the Ballerist, and then there are the ones who themselves are in fact getting balled by their own costume designers. This show is, after all, Sex and the City but sports.

So how hard do the looks on Ballers ball? Here is a random sampling of still shots from the first three-and-a-half seasons of Ballers, and a scientific calculation of the hardness of style.

Advertisement

Let’s go ahead and get this one out of the way.

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

Sometimes I forget that Russell Brand the man is not the same as Aldous Snow the character, but that must be what he’s going for, right? And sometimes I forget that Dwayne Johnson the man is not the same as The Rock, my best friend :). Zip-up sweater-sweatshirt with many muscles peeking out? 10 out of 10 of our exploding horniest balls. Burning Man but somehow worse? 0 out of 10 balls. Or should I say, boules.

Advertisement

Photo: Jeffy Daly/HBO

Here we have Rob Corddry holding a tennis ball—wrong sport, dumbass! 0 out of 10 balls. Spencer “The Rock” Strasmore, on the other hand, is looking slick in a wheat-colored suit with blue accents. We have to dock him for that purple pocket square and the gesture he’s making, which is like, “Come on, really?” This gesture is too soft for a baller. If a baller was mad at a friend, he’d just do the right thing and just punch that man right in the nose. 6 out of 10 balls.

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

Advertisement

Then again, everyone knows that your outfit is only as good as the car you’re standing in front of in the rain, so let’s throw in 1 bonus ball for this custom-tailored suit. As an extremely baller side note, I’m having trouble figuring out which end is the front of that car. It’s like one of those illustrations of an old lady who is also a beautiful woman if you flip it upside down? Sound off in the comments if you know what I’m talking about... A small ball awarded to myself for just knowing how to have fun.

Screenshot: HBO

Listen, Spencer Strasmore arrived at his girlfriend’s house with a bouquet of flowers that were already in a vase, which I might not otherwise notice if The Rock’s enormous hands didn’t look poised to crush it into dust any second. Did he steal this vase of flowers from someone else’s kitchen table? It’s unclear why this would ever make sense. No suit jacket and flowers WITH vase: a weak 2.5 out of 10 balls. Please make more sense next time!

Advertisement

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

Unghhhjdnghhhhhhhhhhhhh 10 out of 10 balls plus 1 bonus ball for that little football-shaped belly hang. Is a baller really a baller if he is not draped in the finest linens? Is a baller really a baller if he does not appear to be well-fed?

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

Advertisement

Speaking of well-fed, here we have: onions, peppers, eggs, orange juice, and two bagels with more poppy seeds than I’ve ever seen on any bagel in my life. Los Angeles, am I right??? They’ve never even heard of carbs!! Idiots! For this drive-in-movie-theater-ass-robe, I award Jerret 8 out of 10 balls—a man’s gotta be comfortable in-between acts of balling too hard. And for his friend TTD’s (“They call me TTD because it’s TIME TO DANCE!”) T-shirt, 10 out of 10 balls for obvious reasons.

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

TIME FOR A GAME. Can you spot the four things that are different from the first image to the second?

Advertisement

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

Me either. No balls. :) I think I see Corddry’s dick, and now you can, too.

Screenshot: HBO

Advertisement

Here’s the thing. Season four of B.A.L.L.E.R.S. (acronym for Be A Luscious Lover, Every Rube Sucks) is all about extreme sports. I know. We flew too close to the sun and here’s where it got us. I love extreme sports just as much as the next guy, of course, but don’t our finest American extreme sports athletes deserve better than having to pretend to be friends with Aldous Snow? Here we have surfing legend Kelly Slater talking to The Rock on speakerphone while Russell Brand downs a grey-ish smoothie in an oversized sweatshirt. Too much Russell Brand chest hair for my liking: 1.5 out of 10 balls. Kelly Slater can get it in a henley, though. 7 out of 10 balls.

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

Rob Corddry’s face pretty much sums up my thoughts about seeing Shooter McGavin in a waffled robe. This looks like a guy who really eats pieces of shit for breakfast. 0 out of 10 balls.

Advertisement

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

A blessed image to cleanse this entire post. Standing in front of cars? Check. Wide-leg stance as if they’re about to get manhandled by TSA agents? Check. Super-dope outerwear? Check. The Rock in denim? A truly underrated look, he should do it more often! Suits aren’t the only way to look like a down-and-dirty baller, you feel me? Some crisp dark denim also turns the heat up. Luckily I can tell where the drivers’ seat of these cars are, so let’s give this a nice, well-rounded 9 out of 10 balls.

Screenshot: HBO

Advertisement

Oh no. 1 out of 10 balls.

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

This look right here is baller meat and potatoes (though, for a baller, meat and potatoes is cocaine and a protein shake). A crisp pinstripe suit jacket, a contrasting paisley pocket square, a loose, unbuttoned shirt with a starched white collar. Maybe you can’t see it from here, but you KNOW underneath that suit jacket is a well-tailored vest—one that, should the shit hit the fan (oh and it will), you’ll catch Strasmore sporting that vest alone. The work of a baller can never be done unless sleeves rolled up and jacket is tossed aside. For returning to our truth, 1 bonus ball.

Advertisement

Photo: Jeff Daly/HBO

Anyone else suddenly feeling extremely sexual? 10 out of 10 balls. Humble. Hungry. Ball.

I can’t remember how I used to do the math on these things, so... let’s go with:

The Ballers fashion rating average: 65.7 balls plus 3 unprecedented bonus balls and 1 small ball for me, which is only fair.