Disney+ gave a series order to Kwame Alexander’s basketball drama The Crossover and Lebron James and his Spring Hill production company joined on as executive producer.
George Tillman Jr directed the pilot which is based on Kwame Alexander’s bestselling novel of the same name that is told entirely through verse. Alexander and Damani Johnson penned the pilot with Dee Johnson supervising.
The Crossover is the coming-of-age story of teen basketball prodigy twins Josh (aka Filthy) and Jordan (aka JB) Bell who must learn to deal with problems on and off the court as they navigate homework, first crushes, family and, of course, basketball.
Josh and Jordan must come to grips with growing up on and off the court to realize breaking the rules comes at a terrible price, as their story’s heart-stopping climax proves a game-changer for the entire family. As they deal with their own trials, their former pro-baller father adjusts to life after basketball and matriarch mother finally gets to pursue dreams of her own.
This aspirational and emotional family drama is narrated entirely by Josh through his lyrical poetry. “With a bolt of lightning on my kicks . . . The court is SIZZLING. My sweat is DRIZZLING. Stop all that quivering. Cuz tonight I¹m delivering.”
The series stars Jayln Hall stars as Filthy aka Josh and Amir O’Neil stars as Jordan (interesting fact, O’Neil is a twin in real life). Derek Luke, Sabrina Revelle, Skyla I’Lece, Deja Monique Cruz, and Trevor Raine Bush are also cast in the series.
Luke will play Chuck Bell. The twin’s father who is a former pro basketball player who knows everything there is to know about the game. A loving husband and father, he’ll do whatever it takes to give his family what they need. Revelle will portray Crystal Bell, the twins’ mother.
I’Lece will play Alexis, a talented musician who just moved back into the neighborhood. Cruz will portray Maya. Sharp as a tack, observant, perceptive and not afraid to speak her mind, Maya is one of Filthy and JB’s best friends. Bush is Vondie, Filthy and JB’s best friend and fellow basketball player on the team.
Executive producers include Todd Harthan, Damani Johnson, Kwame Alexander, George Tillman, Jr., Bob Teitel, and Jay Marcus. Additionally LeBron James, Maverick Carter and Jamal Henderson of The SpringHill Company are joining the project as executive producers.
The Disney Branded Television series will be produced by 20th Television. Production begins in February.
Kwame Alexander is a New York Times bestselling author of 28 books, including The Undefeated, Swing and Rebound. NPR Morning Edition’s poet in residence, he is the recipient of numerous awards including The Coretta Scott King Author Honor, The Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Prize, the 2017 Inaugural Pat Conroy Legacy Award and three NAACP Image Award nominations. Alexander is co-founder of L.E.A.P., an international literacy empowerment organization that built the Barbara E. Memorial Library and Health Clinic in the eastern region of Ghana, and the founder of VERSIFY, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt which publishes books that will engage, entertain, and empower young people to imagine a better world.