We went to meet the team of the “Swagger” series, to be discovered exclusively on the AppleTV + platform.
How did the idea for this series come about?
Reggie Rock Bythewood (creator / showrunner): Basically, it’s a series about young basketball players. But it is also a portrait of the youth who are growing up in today’s world and more particularly in the United States. Each character undertakes an initiatory journey towards adulthood in order to find his place in society.
The idea for Swagger grew out of my discussions with producer Brian Grazer and one of the greatest NBA players Kevin Durant. We spoke together about our youth and our passion for basketball. So we put a lot of ourselves into writing the show.
This series asks an essential question: how to take care of the young people of today, and how to support them in the difficult course of working life?
Isaiah R. Hill (Jace Carson): It’s a series that shows behind the scenes in an American basketball team. We follow in particular the relationship between Jace, whom I play, and his trainer. Swagger highlights all the difficulties encountered by a youngster who aims to become the best player in the world.
O’Shea Jackson Jr. (Isaac ‘Ike’ Edwards): I’m exactly like my character. Before becoming an actor, I myself was a pro basketball player who was approached to join the NBA, but in the end I never made it. The series shows us that life takes unexpected turns and that we always have to know how to improvise and adapt to the challenges that arise in front of us.
What is the message of the series? What are the themes addressed?
Reggie Rock Bythewood: For me, the answer is in the title of the series. Swagger means “to show self-confidence with a touch of arrogance”. But in our series, the title also refers to the idea of espousing a cause greater than yourself.
I think this series shows you that when you champion an important cause, you come out with more confidence, and arguably with less arrogance.
O’Shea Jackson Jr .: Team spirit is essential if you want to be successful in life. Together we can do everything and overcome everything. Alone we always end up crashing. We rarely have all the answers to our problems, but if you know how to listen to others and bring them into your circle of life, then the solutions will come to you.
Isaiah: For me, the message of this series is that sometimes success takes time and you can’t become a champion overnight.
How to explain that basketball is still so popular today with young people?
Reggie Rock Bythewood: I think the speed at which this game is played is attractive to young people. It’s a thrilling sport with so many twists and turns. It’s the ultimate sports drama. Basketball is as much about individual achievement as it is about collective performance.
Isaiah R. Hill: I think basketball reflects what we should be: a person in harmony with themselves, but also with others. This is why young people love basketball. It really is a sport that teaches you to be humble and ambitious at the same time.
O’Shea Jackson Jr .: I think young people like to play basketball because they can express their individuality but also develop that collective mindset that they will need in their adult lives.