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Ballers series finale recap: Players Only

Ballers series finale recap
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as Spencer on Ballers. Pic credit: Jeff Daly/HBO

If there is one thing about the Ballers series finale on HBO, it is that the entire series tied things up with a nice tidy bow. However, seeing any of the characters fall after viewers grew to love then would have been disappointing.

The series finale, Player’s Only, saw Spencer, Joe, Ricky, Charles, and Reggie all get their happy endings and it all felt just right for a show that can be best described as comfort food for fans who want to see professional sports teams do the right thing.

Players Only saw everyone see the cliff ahead and somehow avoid driving over the edge in what Joe described in this episode as a Thelma and Louise moment.

Spencer’s fate on Ballers

Spencer had the most to lose.

As fans saw last week, he came out and told the world that the only reason he chose to take the 18-game schedule was that he had a deal to get the players guaranteed lifetime health insurance and was betrayed by team owners.

This episode opened with an ultimatum by the NFL owners led by the Dallas Cowboys owner. Sell his team and disappear or they would ruin him.

As fans have seen through the last five seasons of Ballers, Spencer doesn’t take threats well. He broke the bank with a $150 million offer to Patrick Mahomes with the largest guarantee in NFL history, which hit every NFL team owner.

He also not only refused the offer to sell the team, but he had a clandestine meeting with the players’ association, which allowed the NFL to indefinitely suspend him for collusion.

But, it was too little too late since he convinced the players to strike before the season started.

By the end of the episode, Spencer showed up at an owner’s meeting he was not told about and laid out that there would be a strike if the owners didn’t do the right thing.

Spencer also had players all go to Instagram at the same time and tag owners in publicly released photos showing their injuries to fans of the NFL.

The vote was one short of acceptance for health insurance, but then the Cowboys owner shocked Spencer and gave in, passing the vote.

This is something the NFL needs and is a nice fantasy storyline to see played out on Ballers.

Joe’s fate on Ballers

Joe has been a mess all season. He has been self-destructive and has turned his friends and colleagues against him.

This episode, Spencer needed to meet with Jason, who now works under the SportsX umbrella, about the Patrick Mahomes deal.

That meant meeting with Joe for the first time since he left SportsX.

In the best moment of the episode, Joe and Spencer had it out and it all ended with a perfect moment where Spencer apologized for leaving Joe when he realized he had hurt a man who considered him his closest friend.

This created a snowball effect for Joe.

Joe suddenly became clearheaded. Not only did he seem very happy that Kate and Odell Beckham Jr. got a deal for SportsX with Nike but said he was good with their post-dating relationship. His confidence might have won her back over.

Reggie’s fate on Ballers

One of the storylines we haven’t talked much about in this season’s recaps was Reggie working with Vernon when the big NFL star decides he wants to move on from football to eSports.

In this episode, not only do they get their team put together for a major tournament but they end up flying through it to come in second place.

While Reggie considers it a failure since second-place prize money wasn’t enough to pay back the entry fee, he got a nice surprise.

The same company that rejected Reggie and Vernon before saw their skills and talent and offered a massive amount of money to bring them into their company.

As a result, Reggie left Joe and SportsX and is making a big move on his own. The good news is that this came after Joe and Spencer made up, so Joe was good with it.

The surprising twist is that Vernon is not moving with Reggie. He is going back to the NFL with a new big contract. He tells Reggie he always planned to go back to the NFL and just wanted to light a fire under Reggie to get him to realize his potential.

Charles’ fate on Ballers

Charles finally got the contract extension he wanted, but he wasn’t sure he wanted to take it.

See, his two heart attacks have him scared and it gets worse when he tells his wife about them for the first time.

In an interesting moment, Charles’ boss explains that he is a dick to him all the time because he wants to push Charles to be the best he can be. He finally relents and offers Charles a promotion to team president on top of $10 million guaranteed.

By the end, Charles goes home and his wife lets him know she will always be there for him, but he can’t leave the Rams after losing in the Super Bowl the year before and he would be miserable if he left now.

He just needs to take better care of himself.

Ricky’s fate on Ballers

Finally, there is Ricky.

There was a moment when Ricky got a meeting in Hollywood to bring his ideas to TV (with a guest-starring Justin Long).

However, when he pitches a show revealing the underbelly of the NFL, the TV execs say that won’t work because their parent corporation has a deal with the NFL.

Ricky walks out and said he won’t make a deal where he can’t do what he thinks is right.

However, Ricky’s fate and Spencer’s fate are tied in together. Ricky and Spencer worked together to make a documentary and all those interview segments this season with Spencer were part of Ricky’s documentary, telling the public his story and the story of the NFL players.

It was a perfect conclusion and a satisfying end to one of HBO’s best shows, Ballers.

Shawn S. Lealos has been a freelance writer for 25 years, starting with magazines and newspapers before moving to the internet. He has been published... read more
Shawn S. Lealos


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