The Los Angeles Lakers’ “Showtime” era has been a massive source of inspiration for filmmakers over the last year, leading to the premiere of three separate TV series about the franchise’s 1980s success.
HBO’s controversial “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” came out in March, causing a spat with some of L.A.’s legends — most notably, Jerry West. A month later, a four-part docuseries titled “They Call Me Magic” premiered on Apple TV+, focusing on Magic Johnson’s career and life.
On Monday, two first episodes of “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers” dropped on Hulu. Unlike “Winning Time,” multiple Lakers players and executives feature in “Legacy,” adding credibility to the series. Among them, current owner Jeanie Buss — who told L.A. Times writer Dan Woike she wants the show to reflect her team’s history as accurately as possible:
“I want everybody to have an opportunity to tell their experience. Because I know, from my point of view, what I saw and experienced,” Jeanie Buss said. “But I really have enjoyed listening to what it was like for former players being on this team. I even learned a lot through this process. And I want Laker fans, who know the wins and the losses, I want them to see the other side, the toll of losing, the toll of winning. … It’s not all just about championships and highlight film. It’s about the people who lived the story and their truth.”
Buss serves as the executive producer of “Legacy” with many of her family members also involved in the show’s production. The first episode starts right where “Winning Time” did, at the time of Dr. Jerry Buss’ purchase of the Lakers, followed by the team’s selection of Johnson in the 1979 NBA Draft.
But while the first season of “Winning Time” focused almost exclusively on the 1979-80 season, “Legacy” goes through the Purple and Gold’s history at a much faster pace. The series will even feature interviews with current Lakers stars, LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
’Legacy’ director Antoine Fuqua compares Lakers to ‘The Godfather’ & ‘Succession’
“Legacy” director Antoine Fuqua — the man behind “Olympus Has Fallen” and “Brooklyn’s Finest” — recently revealed he initially didn’t know how to tell the Lakers’ story.
But after a phone call with Buss and Linda Rambis, Fuqua realized TV hits like “The Godfather” and “Succession” can inspire his work on the show. “It just hit me that this is like The Godfather or Succession. Jerry Buss came from really humble means to Hollywood, of all places, and found a way to — basically, with no money — own the Lakers,” he said.
“It’s about a guy who’s trying to build something for his family. And then how the business of business can really become a disease where the money and fame start to eat at the family until you forget what you did it for to begin with. But then ultimately you have to get back to family in order to survive.”
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