The Los Angeles Lakers are one of the most historic franchises in the history of sports, winning 17th championships across a number of different eras.
The one thing about the Lakers is that while they may not always be good, they are definitely always interesting.
That has made for some incredible stories over the years, specifically in the “Showtime” era in the 1980s and the Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal era in the early 2000s.
No one has chronicled those stories better than author Jeff Pearlman, writing two books with tons of insight and stories called “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” and “Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty.”
The first book was turned into an HBO docudrama series this past year when they released “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.” While the show was met with some criticism from some of the characters being portrayed such as Jerry West and Magic Johnson, it was such a big success that it has already been renewed for a second season.
Season 1 of “Winning Time” only covered Dr. Jerry Buss’ first season owning the Lakers in which they won the championship in 1980, which equates to around the first 100 pages of Pearlman’s first book.
In an exclusive interview with Lakers Nation, Pearlman gave some insight into where the show will pick up in Season 2.
“I don’t know that much of it,” Pearlman admitted. “They’ve been really good about keeping me in the loop, keeping me involved, blah, blah, blah. I know it definitely involves sort of the transition to Paul Westhead becoming the coach and kind of Westhead and then Riley dynamic, and Riley kind of moving into power over Westhead, but I don’t… I mean, they’re writing it as we speak, literally writing as we speak. They’re probably in the room right now writing it. So my guess is almost as good as yours.”
There have been some rumors regarding the show eventually jumping to the Kobe-Shaq era. While Pearlman revealed that HBO has optioned his second book for that to possibly happen, that is not in the works just yet with plenty of stories left to tell from the “Showtime” era.
“I hope we do. It’s not a guarantee. So when someone options something… like I’ve had a lot of my books optioned and never become anything. It basically means HBO retains the right to use it.
“If the series does really well and then they feel like there’s a place somewhere for the follow up with, you know, Shaq, Kobe or so, it could happen. It’d be great if it happens, but there’s no guarantee it’ll happen.”
Pearlman explains why portraying characters is harder in TV shows than books
While Pearlman’s book is what was used to make “Winning Time,” some of the characters and stories in the show weren’t quite as accurate as what readers have had the chance to learn.
Pearlman explained why portraying characters in a TV show can be more difficult than in books.
“Well, I mean, I guess the number one thing is like… the thing with the book is, it’s very, very nitty gritty, like, a book is nitty gritty. You can have a scene in a book, you can devote five pages in a book to a guy shaving, if you want, if there’s something unique about a way a guy shaved, you may decide I’m gonna take five pages, I’m just gonna write about everything, the meticulousness of how he shaves, because it will show something and you have the space to do that over 400 or 500 pages,” Pearlman told Lakers Nation.
“But a TV show, you know, you basically have an hour to get it done and get it done and get it done. So I don’t think it allows in a way, TV in general, allows for the same level of depth and understanding of a character that a book does. You just have more time in the book to do it?”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!