Many were disappointed to hear that the HBO drama series ‘Winning Time’ based on the story of the Showtime era Los Angeles Lakers was cancelled after just two seasons. The show followed some of the most important people in Lakers history such as Dr. Jerry Buss, Jeanie Buss, Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and had a lot of fans, but also some detractors.
Many of those portrayed in the show did not care for how they were made to look, not to mention some creative liberties that were taken in telling the story as the creators were obviously trying to make an entertaining television show based on the Lakers. As such, the likes of Magic, Kareem and Jerry West were not viewers of the show and Johnson doesn’t believe that story can be properly told regardless.
In an interview with Chris Gardner of The Hollywood Reporter, Magic spoke on his belief that no one can tell the story of the Showtime Lakers as it is meant to be told:
“Well, I never watched it because nobody in this world can tell the Lakers story [like it needed to be told]. The Showtime story? Nobody! Dr. Buss was way ahead of his time as an owner. Our team? Unbelievable! The Laker girls with Paula Abdul? Unbelievable! Nobody can tell that story,” the NBA great told The Hollywood Reporter on Thursday night when asked about it on the red carpet at the Elizabeth Taylor Ball to End AIDS. “So, none of us watched it because it was fictional. You just can’t tell that story. But, hey, that’s on them.”
The story of the ‘Showtime’ Lakers really is an unbelievable one as Johnson stated and it is very likely that the best stories really come from the players, coaches and staff who were there themselves. The creators of ‘Winning Time’ did an excellent job of creating a compelling TV show, but to those who actually lived it, that will almost always pale in comparison to reality.
While Jeanie Buss grew to appreciate the show in certain aspects, the same can not be said for many others and Johnson is included in that group. Even still, the show ending on the lowest point of that era, the Lakers losing the 1984 Finals to the Boston Celtics, just doesn’t sit well.
Lakers legend Magic Johnson recalls how loss to Celtics in 1984 motivated him
Even though the show ended at that point, the reality is that the Lakers themselves bounced back the following year and took down the Celtics for the first time in franchise history. And Johnson spent all summer after that loss preparing for that revenge.
Magic spoke on that loss in the 1984 Finals, noting how hurt he was because it was the first time he cost his team the championship. And the Lakers legend did some self reflecting and worked tirelessly that offseason to ensure it didn’t happen again.
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!