Ballers: Season 2 Finale

Tyler Horn, Contributor - The Players' Tribune

Did you know … that Eddie George minored in acting at Ohio State?

O.K. I made that up, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had. In this week’s episode, Eddie steals a scene with his presence and emotion — and in my book, he takes home the trophy for best cameo in either of the first two seasons of Ballers. (With apologies to Jay Glazer.)

But I’ll get to Eddie’s School of Acting in a second.

The Season 2 finale of Ballers is finally here. Episode 10 picks up right where we left off last week: Spencer’s career is on the brink. His money problems are still haunting him. As the episode begins, we find out that Spencer is intent on buying out the rights to ASM — his former firm that was recently absorbed by rival financial firm Anderson.

But the deal doesn’t go down as smoothly as Spencer expects.

Instead of accepting Spencer’s money for the buyout right away, Anderson suggests that Spencer try again to get his NFLPA registration approved — a prerequisite for returning to the world of financial management of NFL players. Spencer is making yet another unwise financial decision by taking out a loan to pay back the money he lost in a … bad financial decision. For me, this should be a red flag for Anderson: The guy you’re hiring to help athletes with their money seems to be bad with his own money.

This is not Spencer being a good-guy financial advisor. This is Spencer hitting rock bottom.

But Spencer has few options, so he agrees to reapply to the NFLPA program. His next stop is the Rookie Symposium in Canton, Ohio, to convince Eddie George to rescind a financial grievance that George filed against him. Apparently, Eddie was one of the players Spencer duped into the failed real estate deal that got Spencer’s NFLPA certification rescinded. In an incredibly emotional confrontation between Spencer and Eddie, Spencer realizes how far he’s fallen.

George was absolutely fantastic in this scene. His performance was really impressive.

After his argument with Eddie, Spencer does what all men of sound logic do: He goes on a drug-fueled bender in a strip club. Again, this is not Spencer being a good-guy financial advisor. This is Spencer hitting rock bottom.

At the Rookie Symposium, Spencer gives a speech to all the new players, telling them to be careful, to be smart. He tells them that the people who will take their money are their relatives, friends and “snakes in $5,000 suits.”

Spencer realizes that he might be one of those snakes — one of the same smooth-talking guys he was trying to protect his athletes from when he became a financial advisor. But somewhere along the way, something went wrong. He put his ambitions before theirs, and it cost him nearly everything.

Every scene involving Ricky Jerret was incredibly entertaining.

I am very satisfied with the way Spencer’s story came full circle this season. At first, I was incredibly skeptical of the direction the show was taking with him. He had constantly been portrayed as the good-guy financial advisor, but all of his actions showed otherwise. It was only in this last episode that we got to watch him hit rock bottom, and begin the transformation into the man he truly wants to be.

This season has had its ups and downs. But I will say this: Every scene involving Ricky Jerret was incredibly entertaining. As I watched John David Washington portray this character, I couldn’t help but see the similarities to Vincent Chase of Entourage. I think a fun-loving show following Ricky’s career could be fantastic. Entourage is one of those shows you never wanted to stop watching because it allowed you to essentially live the life of a famous actor. I wonder if a show like that about Ricky Jerret as an up-and-coming football star would be similarly captivating. Oh, well — we’ll file that idea with all the other great woulda-coulda-shoulda shows.

In the end Season 2 of Ballers got its message across. For the first nine episodes of the season, that message was very hazy, but in the finale we saw Spencer finally spiral out of control. Now, maybe, he will have a chance to reflect and change. I think he’s beginning to realize just how selfish he’s been.

Thank you guys, for tuning in each week to read my take on Ballers. As a former player and current financial advisor, it’s been fun to watch a glamorized version of my industry. There weren’t been too many parallels to my own life this season (does that mean my life is boring?), but the theme was close to my heart — how sports and money can be a toxic mix if things get out of control — was food for thought every week.

Ballers was renewed for a third season, so next year we’ll likely get to see just how much Spencer has changed, for better or worse.

In the meantime, hit me up on Twitter (@Tyler63Horn) with any comments or thoughts about the show.

Oh, and now I need a new TV show to watch … recommendations welcome.

Check out my other Ballers recaps from Season 2 here.

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