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The CW sports drama All American follows an inner-city teenager named Spencer James (Daniel Ezra), who aspires to become a professional football player in the NFL. Although real-life football player Spencer Paysinger inspired the series, the show has changed a few things about his pre-life career. Here’s a list of changes the television show made to Paysinger’s life story. 

Spencer’s acceptance into Beverly Hills High School is completely different in ‘All American’

Daniel Ezra and Spencer Paysinger attending the Paley Center For Media's 2018 PaleyFest Fall TV Previews.
Daniel Ezra and Spencer Paysinger | Araya Diaz/WireImage

The show starts with Spencer James transferring from South Crenshaw to Beverly Hills High School. Coach Billy Baker (Taye Diggs) recruited him to play for the Beverly Eagles and win them a state championship. To attend the school, Spencer had to live with Billy’s family in Beverly Hills. However, the real story behind Spencer Paysinger’s acceptance into Beverly was different from the show’s depiction. 

According to Newsweek, Paysinger had multiple family members working at the high school. As children, his father and uncles received a permit to go to school. They returned to the high school and became coaches/teachers. In turn, he attended the school as part of the multicultural program. So, Paysinger didn’t have to stay with a faculty member’s family to go to Beverly. 

The CW series changed where Spencer played football in high school 

When Spencer won the state championship with Beverly Hills High School, he transferred to South Crenshaw High. Spencer went back to Crenshaw to win the state title for his neighborhood. However, that didn’t happen to Spencer Paysinger. Throughout his high school career, Paysinger only attended Beverly Hill High. 

According to PopSugar, he resided in South Central Los Angeles and would commute to Beverly Hills every day for school. In 2006, he graduated from Beverly after playing two seasons with the football team. Although the change showed Spencer’s talent in the series, the change does alter his journey to the NFL.

The former NFL player wasn’t shot in high school

One of the biggest turning points for Spencer was getting shot in All American. After leaving an event with Olivia (Samantha Logan), Spencer got shot in the shoulder by an unknown assailant. Throughout the second season, he is grappling with the aftermath of his injury. 

The shooting put Spencer’s football career in jeopardy. In the end, he made a full recovery and returned to the field. As the show progresses, the narrative revealed Coop (Bre-Z) was responsible for Spencer getting shot. He was able to move on from the incident after opening up to Coop. However, this did not happen to Spencer Paysinger in real life. Paysinger never had a gunshot wound that threatened his football career.

Spencer Paysinger wasn’t an All-American in real life


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Spencer and Jordan Baker (Michael Evans Behling) is named All-American high school football players in the sports drama. To clarify, the term All-America describes outstanding U.S. athletes in football or any given sport. However, Paysinger never earned the title in high school. His most significant achievement was becoming the Ocean League player of the year in college.

Paysinger didn’t win a state championship in high school

In the CW series, Spencer won the state championship for Beverly Hills High School. However, Paysinger never won the state title in high school. He had a successful career in high school, but that didn’t include winning the California state championship. In his junior year, the Beverly Hills Normans finished the football season with a 9-1-2 record. Unfortunately, the team never made it to the championship finals. But, Spencer James came close to winning a second title for South Crenshaw High School. 

All American Season 4 airs Mondays on the CW at 8:00 p.m. ET.