Sports are our greatest form of entertainment and sports figures are our most prominent celebrities. There is no league that relies more on the individual star power of its players than the NBA, which was built on the backs of the stars who brought the league to its current popularity and the visionaries who saw what the league could become if they entered it. would lean.
HBO’s New Series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is a limitless look at the stars and owner that changed the NBA forever.
The series takes place at a pivotal moment in NBA history as the league fights for its place in the American sports consciousness. The show purposefully points out that at the time, golf and tennis outperformed the competition by a wide margin when it came to ratings. dr. Jerry Buss enters, played by John C. Reily, a fledgling owner with style and a vision to make the Lakers the main attraction of the league.
The series looks at the organization’s rise through its ownership, front office and newly drafted star player, Irving “Magic Johnson”, played by Quincy Isaiah. It’s a period piece that looks at the ins and outs of the emergence of one of the defining teams of the ’80s with all the style and excess of the era.
Based on the book Show Time by Jim Pearlman, the series was created by Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht and produced by Oscar-winning director Adam McKay. McKay made a late shift from comedy guru working with the likes of Will Ferrell to social satirist in films like The Big Short, Vice and most recently the polarizing satire on the environment don’t look up†
The series has all of McKay’s influence and includes all of his tricks that influenced his filmmaking. There are constant breaks on the fourth wall, with explanations and graphs to keep the public informed about what’s going on and why things matter. This explanatory style works for a show about an NBA front office and for viewers watching the show who may not know the beats of the story from, say, the Magic Johnson vs. Larry Bird argument and the media portrayal of the two NBA games. hall-of-famers at the time and the racial aspect of it all.
The first episode, directed by McKay, is a whirlwind and more akin to a one-hour film from the director with no ending. All flashy filming techniques are their land and can be much to enjoy with his frenetic editing style. It looks like it took place in the late 70’s and 80’s as it’s filmed with a grainy nostalgic tinge. While hectic, it does a great job of setting the table for the rest of the series. The second episode is directed by Jonah Hill, a frequent McKay collaborator, and we see the series come into its own. The foundation for the series was laid in the first hour of the show, and in the second episode it is allowed to dig further and become a unique TV series.
The unifying aspect of the show that could eliminate any issues or shortcomings is the casting and performances. John C. Reily is incredible as the late Dr. Jerry Buss and plays him as this magnetic and charismatic visionary with an uncanny eye for what people want. Finding actors who are not only like these real people, but especially the NBA players and personalities like Magic, Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West is a chore, but the casting and performances are good. Quincy Isaiah is a more than believable Magic Johnson, and Jason Clarke as Jerry West delivers an uncanny feat as the Laker Great. Solomon Hughes is effectively playing Abdul-Jabbar’s public persona at the time, and it’s exciting to see how his portrayal develops. Magic’s origin story is arguably the show’s weakest link yet. But when he eventually moves from Michigan to California, where the show’s magic really takes place, that’s bound to change, and if the second episode is any indication, the show’s major figures will all have their time to shine and thrive. develop.
The show also uses its HBO branding, curating a deep bank of acting talent, including Oscar winner Sally Field who appears five minutes into the second episode as the mother of Jerry Buss, Multi Emmy award winner Michael Chiklis, who plays the role of the legendary Boston Celtic Architect Red Auerbach, and an incredible feat of Rob Morgan, who plays Magic Johnson’s father.
And there’s more to come, including Oscar winner Adrien Brody, Wood Harris, Jason Segal and many more. The material allows these performers to play while embodying these real individuals, which is one of the strongest points of interest to the series and the aspect of the show that is pitch-perfect.
The show doesn’t shy away from showing off the excess of time, making it a point to showcase all the drugs, women, and parties that have been floating around this team and life in Los Angeles. It’s no surprise that the NBA has stayed far away from the series, and the real entities portrayed, such as Magic Johnson and the Buss family, are questionable about the series at best.
In an era where athletes have the ability to tell their own stories and produce content that they sign to control their story, such as Michael Jordan’s hit documentary the last dance, something like winning time strikes differently. A Magic Johnson-signed documentary is already in the works, as well as a comedy about Laker’s workplace straight from the organization coming up. A comedic and dramatic take on a dynasty, the show keeps the figures it portrays from getting too upset, but the show created by outsiders makes it feel more organic.
The different parts of the show aren’t all together in two episodes yet, but when all of these characters start sharing scenes and go on screen together, it becomes something exciting. The series has legs and can last several seasons and is set up for this by HBO. For those familiar with NBA history and interested in it, this series is a no-brainer, but those unfamiliar or initially uninterested may struggle with it. But the way the show is structured, putting the characters to the fore while not being afraid to explain things and leaning on the conventional prestige TV storytelling people are used to, there’s a good chance it will and grab the attention of more than just NBA fans are eager to reminisce about the ’80s.
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty can be seen on HBO and HBO Max.