Jerry West’s displeasure with his portrayal in “Winning Time” could lead to a lengthy legal battle between the Los Angeles Lakers legend and HBO.
West’s attorneys have demanded an apology and a retraction from the show’s producers, accusing them of “a deliberately false mischaracterization” of the 83-year-old’s L.A. Clippers executive.
The lawyers gave HBO two weeks to respond to the letter they sent to the network and “Winning Time” creators. And L.A. Times writer Chuck Schilken reports West is ready to pursue all available legal options if his demands are not met — even if it takes him to the Supreme Court:
“The series made us all [the Lakers] look like cartoon characters,” West told Dwyre. “They belittled something good. If I have to, I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court.”
“Winning Time” portrays West as a character that brings comedy to the show, who drinks alcohol in his office and engages in rage-fueled acts.
Showtime star Magic Johnson came to West’s defense amid his former general manager’s feud with the show, emphasizing his contribution to the franchise and the city of Los Angeles in general.
Mitch Kupchak joins in defense of West
West and his lawyers included statements of former members of the Lakers organization in the letter they sent to HBO. Among those disagreeing with the executive’s portrayal in “Winning Time” was Mitch Kupchak, who played for L.A. during the Showtime era before succeeding West as general manager.
“[West] was always positive and encouraging with me,” Kupchak wrote.
“I also found Jerry to be honest and sincere. I never saw or heard Jerry lose his temper with anyone. I also never saw or heard Jerry go on an angry rant or tirade nor did I ever see or hear Jerry scream or yell at anyone. That was not his personality.”
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