All American: Is All American based on a true story? Who is All American about?

All American wrapped up on The CW  back in March 2019. A third season has been confirmed by The CW, which will air in the latter half of 2020 or early 2021. The second season is recently wrapped up on the CW and both seasons are streaming on Netflix worldwide now. All American is a 16-episode long sports drama inspired by an American professional footballer but who?

Is All American based on a true story?

Yes, All American on The CW is loosely based on a true story.

The series was inspired by the life of African-American professional football player Spencer Paysinger, who has spoken openly about the challenges he faced in his early career to make it where he is now today.

Speaking to ESPN, producer Robbie Rogers said: “It’s a real story, it’s inspired by a true story, and so it’s good to put a face to that story. Hearing it from Spencer himself was very important.“

However, characters and events have been altered to be set the present day and Paysinger served as a consulting producer in the TV series.


The first series of All American followed high school football star Spencer James (played by Daniel Ezra), who was headhunted by Coach Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) from a rival high school.

James accepted the scholarship but his time at Beverly Hills High was not smooth sailing.

Beverly High School was the same school Paysinger attended where he was captain of the football team as a wide receiver and linebacker.

In All American, Spencer played the position of a wide receiver at Crenshaw High School before transferring to Beverly Hills High, where he was switched to play cornerback, kick off returner and running back.

Paysinger has spoken about how he came from a rough neighbourhood in South Central LA who played for a high school football team in one of the cities most affluent areas.

He has also detailed how his adolescence was characterised with drugs and violence which he escaped on a football scholarship to the college of Oregon.

Paysinger told ESPN how after one championship baseball game in his own neighbourhood shots were fired in a local nearby park and how he had to sleep at his grandparent’s house because it was too dangerous at night for him to ride a bike through his neighbourhood.

Producer Dane Morck said: “One of the things that I always found interesting about Los Angeles was the stark contrast in communities that are just sitting side by side.

“That was always interesting to me because you grow up here and you kind of stay in your pocket, and you kind of dealt with what was in front of you.

“I also realized at the same time I was talking to someone who had found success in a hard space, and he was a modern-day kind of hero in his path, in his journey, and that really appealed to me.”

Who is All American about?

All American follows the story of Spencer James, an aspiring football player.

His character is based on the real African American professional football player Spencer Paysinger.

Paysinger is now a retired American footballer who played the position of linebacker.

In 2011, he was signed by the New York Giants as an undrafted free agent in 2011 and was part of the Super Bowl XLVI-winning team that year against the Patriots.

Paysinger played with the New York Giants until 2014.

In 2015, Paysinger signed a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins, leaving for the New York Jets in 2017.

On December 5, 2017, he signed with the Carolina Panthers and was released from the team that same month on December 29, 2017.

At the beginning of 2018, Paysinger retired from football at age 29.

He said: “I remember sitting in my locker that day, packing all my stuff, smiling. I never wanted football to be my highest peak.“

All American is streaming on Netflix now

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