Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson To Produce Negro League Baseball Drama for Apple

Magic Johnson at NBA Awards
Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Turner Sports

Apple has acquired the rights to Donald Spivey’s non-fiction book, If You Were Only White: The Life of Leroy ‘Satchel’ Paige, for a drama series based on the story of Negro League Baseball.

NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Mandalay Entertainment’s Peter Guber, and Oscar nominee Ron Shelton (White Men Can’t Jump) are behind the project, which will be co-produced by Apple Studios and Kapital Entertainment. The series will dive into the history of Negro League Baseball by focusing on one of the sport’s greatest pitchers, Leroy “Satchel” Paige.

Paige, who was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971, played for several Negro League teams throughout his career as well as multiple Major League Baseball teams, making his debut for the Cleveland Indians in 1948.

The upcoming series will partner with the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, which is dedicated to preserving and celebrating the history of African American baseball. The project is also supported by the MLB, which tweeted out its excitement following the show’s announcement.

Johnson and Shelton will serve as executive producers on the series alongside John Mass, Jason Smith and Kapital’s Aaron Kaplan and Dana Honor, with Kevin Marco overseeing the project for Kapital. The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick and Chairman of the Board Kevin Battle will be involved in the show on behalf of the museum.

It is not yet known when the series will start production or when it will premiere. However, it would mark Apple TV+’s second sports-based television series, following the Jason Sudeikis comedy Ted Lasso. Set within the English Premier League, Lasso follows Sudeikis as an American football coach who moves to England to manage a soccer team.