Andrew Santino Based His ‘Sin City Saints’ Character on Donald Sterling and Mark Cuban

Yahoo!’s stepping into the original programming game with some heavy hitters this month. The second on its slate: Sin City Saints, a hilarious new sitcom about the misadventures of the eponymous fictional Las Vegas-based NBA team and its Silicon Valley tycoon owner Jake Tullus (Andrew Santino), whose persona bears a striking similarity to some of the league’s most infamous characters. Namely, Dallas Mavericks head honcho Mark Cuban and disgraced former Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

“I would argue that my character is Mark Cuban brain and Donald Sterling action. Jake is an intelligent guy who’s very forward-thinking, and kind of thought that his web space brain could help in the sports world, but they have nothing to do with one another, other than running a good business,” said Santino during Yahoo!’s press day. “That’s where someone like the Sterling reference makes sense because he makes a lot of mistakes that I don’t think he understands he’s making…I mean, I call [Ladarius Pope] my mocha baby boy, and I don’t think Jake understands you can’t say that.”

[Photo Credit: Yahoo!]

And who is Ladarius Pope exactly? The Saints’ star player, played by Keith Powers, whose accidental knee injury during one of Tullus’ misguided publicity stunts becomes the catalyst for the team to spiral out of control.

On Ladarius, Powers had this to say, “My character was inspired by LeBron James with a 12-year-old, naive, mama’s boy mind. You’re dropping all this money on him, letting him do what he’s been doing his whole life…but when it’s taken away from him, it’s like, ‘Oh snap, what do you do now?’ You get to see a unique side of an NBA player. You don’t get to see him as that rock star, you get to seem him as this everyday human.”

Holding the organization together as the team scrambles to replace Keith and dodge bad press is Malin Akerman’s Dusty Halford, a no-nonsense lawyer who’s the special assistant to the commissioner. For inspiration, she didn’t tap any known public figures in particular, but rather drew from her experiences as a new mother. “You become this person you never thought you’d be when you become a mom. As much as [Dusty’s] not the nurturing part of a mother, she still has that [instinct of] having to keep everybody together,” said Akerman. “This is a family of some sorts.The whole team behind [Jake’s] team are the children. His assistants are strippers. [Laughs.] I feel I have to come in and fix them and show them the lay of the land.”

Tom Arnold, Brendan Jennings, B.K. Cannon, and Justin Chon round out Jake’s off-court team, while veteran NBA players Rick Fox (a Single Ladies and Hit the Floor alum) plays his mentor and Baron Davis is his team’s newest recruit.

The series premieres its first of eight half-hour episodes on Yahoo! on March 23.

[Photo Credit: Yahoo!]

Tara Aquino is an entertainment writer based out of L.A. She likes people, places, and things.