According to a lawsuit filed in federal court, Everette Silas and Sherri Littleton say they had the idea for a project called "Off Season" back in 2007.
They claim they were close to a deal in 2009 to work with Wahlberg, Johnson and their manager to develop the project ... but it fell apart when Silas and Littleton insisted their names remain under "Created By" in the credits.
Silas and Littleton claim "Off Season" and "Ballers" share several similarities, including:
-- Both are about football players and their lives off-field -- Both set in Miami -- Both center around African-American athletes
That last one doesn't seem so unique -- still, the "Off Season" folks say even the title "Ballers" is ripped from one their episode titles.
Silas and Littleton are seeking unspecified damages.
A rep for HBO tells TMZ, "We are confident the case has no merit."