Ballers Season 2 Finale Recap: "Be Smart"

Throughout this young series, money issues, nagging injuries, and buried friendships have haunted our hero baller Spencer Strasmore. Deep secrets prevented him from letting go of his past life and capturing success in his new one. To make it to the top, sometimes you gotta hit rock bottom. Spence most definitely checked that box this episode.

Charles Gets "Promoted"

 It seems the higher you rise in the corporate world, the less practically your monitor is positioned on your desk. Look at Siefert's monitor over there, gathering dust. The keyboard is an inch and a half away from the edge of his desk. Where do you rest your arms and wrists, my man? Do you even have a mouse?

It seems the higher you rise in the corporate world, the less practically your monitor is positioned on your desk. Look at Siefert's monitor over there, gathering dust. The keyboard is an inch and a half away from the edge of his desk. Where do you rest your arms and wrists, my man? Do you even have a mouse?

Siefert is so impressed with Charles' "first in, last out" mentality that he promotes him to "my number two." Congrats Charles, but what were you before if not Siefert's right-hand man? Who was the previous number two? Did he get fired? Have you ever seen him? This is a fake promotion, bud. Expect longer hours with no increase in pay. That's how they get ya.

Speaking of Charles' ludicrous work schedule, Siefert claims to get in the office at 4:30 every morning. That means he probably wakes up at 2:45 AM, showers from 3:00 to 3:20 (showers take longer when you're groggy), trims and shaves for a few minutes, steams out the wrinkles in his polo at 3:45, and grabs a Nutri-Grain bar on his way out the door at like 4:05. It's no wonder Siefert looks 20 years younger than he is, the man hasn't entered REM sleep since 2004.

 Even though Charles was barely on screen this week, HBO provided two photos of him in the episode recap. So here's the second photo. He's coaching. The guy on the far left seems far too old to be playing football.

Even though Charles was barely on screen this week, HBO provided two photos of him in the episode recap. So here's the second photo. He's coaching. The guy on the far left seems far too old to be playing football.

Looks Like The Hall Of Fame's Easier To Get Into Than Arizona State

 "Always told Ricky he needed a backup plan in case football didn't work out, and the man's grown into one hell of a barista. How you like your coffee, TTD?"

"Always told Ricky he needed a backup plan in case football didn't work out, and the man's grown into one hell of a barista. How you like your coffee, TTD?"

Everywhere Dennis Jerret goes, money disappears.

I don't mean to imply Dennis is a thief. He is not. I'm saying his advice is so shoddy that the local economy actually shrinks.

Last episode, Ricky's deadbeat dad-turned-BFF planted the Hall of Fame seed in his son's mind, prompting Ricky to turn down an outrageous $33 million offer and instead focus on latching on with a Super Bowl contender. Good job I guess!

The Patriots' Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola give Ricky a call to set up a casual beach workout (presumably they share a phone), and Ricky mostly gets worked. After the sweat sesh, Jason reminds Ricky the Patriots are willing to offer $1.5 million for one year, or about 90% less than three other teams and for two fewer years. But yeah man Hall of Fame and stuff, sure.

 Whenever I see rich guys with their sleeves cut or clothes otherwise hastily customized, I always wonder if they did it themselves. Like does Bill Belichick stay up late plowing through a fresh batch of sweatshirts with a 20-year-old pair of Fiskars?

Whenever I see rich guys with their sleeves cut or clothes otherwise hastily customized, I always wonder if they did it themselves. Like does Bill Belichick stay up late plowing through a fresh batch of sweatshirts with a 20-year-old pair of Fiskars?

Verne's 18-Hour Commute

Ever since the COWBOAYS drafted Dexter Baynes, Verne's been on edge about his future. That silly paintball injury could end up costing him millions if the Cowboys no longer require his services. Better pack up the sedan and drive from Miami to Dallas.

For reasons left unexplained, Vern and Reggie cram everything into a car and make the 18-hour trip in hopes of beating the rookie to camp. That's a long trip, so it's no surprise when Vern starts to doze off. When Reggie offers to drive, Vern is so touched by the gesture that he officially puts Reggie on the payroll. Three thousand dollars a week doesn't buy what it used to.

I Saw The Rock Do TV Coke And It Made Me Very Uncomfortable

When Spence dropped a bag filled with a million dollars cash on Anderson's desk last week, one assumed the early episodes of next season would hinge on Spencer's offer to buy ASM outright and course-correct a life slowly crumbling.

But that major moment was essentially erased early in the finale. In the span of probably two minutes, Anderson tells Spence he doesn't want to sell the company, Spence explodes with rage, Anderson says hey man chill out it's for your own good, then the two laugh and negotiate a nearly equal ownership split*

* Hey uhh Spence, you ever seen Shark Tank? Anderson's not going to split his company 50-50 with you, you broke idiot.

Just as some kid is about to stick a needle into his butt cheek, Spence receives a call from one of his boys with the NFLPA. Turns out one former player filed a grievance against Spence, preventing him from getting that elusive registration. If Spence can smooth things over with the mystery complainer (kind of his thing, especially if he's scheduled to throw out the first pitch at the Marlins game that night), maybe he can still turn this thing around. But who filed the grievance?

SPENCE: Who was it?
NFLPA GUY: I can't tell you that.
SPENCE: One time you did stuff with a stripper.
NFLPA GUY: Fine, it was Eddie George.
SPENCE: Where is he?
NFLPA GUY: I can't tell you that.
SPENCE: Just tell me.
NFLPA GUY: He's standing super close to me at the Rookie Symposium.

So off to the Rookie Symposium Spence goes! (That's a bad sentence. Not gonna rewrite it though because I watched 20 episodes of Ballers in a very short period of time and frankly my brain is mush.)

The front desk guy at the hotel in Canton was playing fast and loose with people's room numbers, so Spence tracks down Eddie pretty quickly. The confrontation is intense, just like the showdown between Spence and Andre Allen. These idiots lost a lot of money together, and forgiveness doesn't come easy ... especially when Eddie tells some sob story about living out of his van. (Kind of hard to believe. Eddie George would be the best-looking homeless guy in history.)

 Go ahead, open the image in a new tab. Zoom in on that skin. You won't find a single pore.

Go ahead, open the image in a new tab. Zoom in on that skin. You won't find a single pore.

But Eddie has a point. For years, Spence has left incinerated fortunes in his wake. Managing other people's money is the last thing he should be doing. Deep down, Spence knows it's true. Might as well tip a few back and head to the nearest strip club.

(Stefon voice) Canton's hottest strip club is Glazer's, where NFL insider and MMA junkie Jay Glazer himself holds court with bankrupt peons like Spencer Strasmore and smartass hangers-on like Joe Krutel.

Though the Cleveland SuperPimp didn't make an appearance, Spence and Joe managed to have a pretty wild night. Shots! Girls! Coke! Joe even got his nipple pierced. Wacky stuff. 

 Security really dropped the ball when Joe jumped on stage. In real life, a creepy guy like that would get Goldberg speared through the mirror wall and left for dead in the parking lot.

Security really dropped the ball when Joe jumped on stage. In real life, a creepy guy like that would get Goldberg speared through the mirror wall and left for dead in the parking lot.

Despite looking like he got trapped in a knife shop during a typhoon, Spence finagles a chance to speak to the rookies. It's a sobering speech, a dose of reality the morning after Spence did everything he could to avoid facing it.

With former friend Eddie George and young client Travis Mack looking on, Spence tells his story of fame, fortune, and squandering it all. Finally Spence admits in public what he's been wrestling with in private since retiring. Don't be like Spence, he says, "fuckin' be smart."

The blunt admission and sincere apology might be enough for Eddie to rescind his grievance, but unless Spence starts a GoFundMe, he's going to struggle to come up with enough scratch to buy ASM and pay off the medical bills for his hip replacement. But this isn't Stragglers, it's Ballers goddamnit. With these weights off his shoulders, Spence must resume maximum balling next season. Right? |ES|


All images via HBO