June 3, 2024

CABLE | LA's Sterling NBA Franchise – How the Rich Got 'Clipped'

"He says a lot of things he shouldn't."
Laurence Fishburne Doc Rivers Gina Welch | Clipped FX
FX Productions
Clipped, FX's sports drama miniseries based on ESPN's 30 for 30 podcast series The Sterling Affairs by sports reporter Ramona Shelburne (also an executive producer), dramatizes the wild ownership scandal that rocked the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team during the NBA's tumultuous 2023-24 season when controversial longtime owner Donald Sterling (Ed O'Neill) sparked a player revolt after his extremely racist remarks were leaked by his notorious media-obsessed, visor-wearing mistress V. Stiviano (Cleopatra Coleman).

Created and showrun by television writer Gina Welch, the beat-by-beat recreation of the scandalous recent events feels all the more horrific due to the casual nature of its explicit racism. Also starring a weary Laurence Fishburne as head coach Doc Rivers (the de facto protagonist) and Jacki Weaver as Sterling's wife and business partner Shelly, the series alternates perspectives between its cast of dead ringers portraying real-life sports and tabloid news figures from a decade ago.

Welch occasionally struggles to justify her adaptation in early episodes beyond its source material podcast or what could have easily been a slam-dunk documentary recapping the horribly racist ownership tenure of Sterling and its salaciously chaotic details. Oddly, it never lives up to the actual events it's dramatizing and implosion of the characters despite some uniformly fine performances from a legitimately intriguing cast. Clipped's exploration of wealth, race, and labour feels underwhelming as a much tamer The People v. O. J. Simpson: American Crime Story.

Clipped's six-episode season is available to stream weekly on Disney+ Star in Canada (and on Hulu in the U.S.).

More | YVArcade / Andscape / Indiewire

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