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A different kind of ‘net’

Showfolk gather for weekly game of hoops, but no shoptalk

A group of showrunners, actors, agents, bankers and sundry others get together every Tuesday night for a few hours of hoops in the gym at Crossroads School in Santa Monica. But don’t call it an industry game.

As good as the networking opportunities might be in a game that counts among its regulars scribes Bill Lawrence, Matt Tarses, Jon Pollack, Bill Callahan, Greg Malins, Josh Bycel, David Ronn and Tim Hobert, there’s a strict no-soliciting policy on the court.

“If you get in the game, the only way to get kicked out is if you try to make it about work,” says Lawrence, creator-exec producer of “Cougar Town” and “Scrubs.”

Lawrence picked up the tradition of a weekly basketball game among friends from his mentor, Gary David Goldberg, who had a court installed on the Paramount lot during the “Family Ties” days.

The group is loosely organized into teams of 10 — old guys vs. young guys. Lawrence recently made the transition to the senior citizen ranks. It’s been a humbling experience.

“The 40 and over crowd gets there 20 minutes early to start stretching and putting on Ben-Gay,” he quips. “The young guys walk in at two minutes to eight with their shoes untied and just start sprinting.”

Staffers on Lawrence’s shows know his devotion to the game. No matter what’s happening on the set, he’s at the gym on Tuesdays by 8 p.m.

Other devoted players include ICM’s Mickey Berman, manager Marc Provissiero, NBC’s Jeff Ingold and thesps Donald Faison, Tom Cavanagh, Rob Maschio and Josh Randall.

“I love the sport,” Lawrence says. “And I do it for sanity.”

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