The “Showtime” Los Angeles Lakers both redefined basketball and had a huge impact on American culture in the 1980s.
The Lakers win won five titles after Dr. Jerry Buss purchased the franchise and drafted Magic Johnson in 1979, marking the beginning of the Showtime era. Dr. Buss added an element of entertainment to gamedays, introducing courtside seats and adding cheerleader performances during timeouts.
Meanwhile, L.A.’s basketball wowed the crowd with a pacy game and flashy passes that stood out from the traditional and gritty style most of the NBA teams preferred.
Three different documentaries brought back memories from the Showtime era this summer, trying to tell the iconic group’s story. And now, ESPN reporter Ramona Shelburne told Zach Lowe on the ”Lowe Post” podcast the Showtime Lakers will be having a reunion in Hawaii — and might even hoop a little in the place they used to travel to for practice in their playing days:
“That “Showtime” group, that’s Kareem, Magic, James Worthy, Byron Scott, Michael Cooper, Pat Riley — they’re all getting up there in years. Kareem just turned 75 and a lot of them have felt like… they all stay in touch, but they’ve all felt like they want to get together, and so they’re all going to Maui. Remember, they used to go to Hawaii for training camps. They’re going to have a big group vacation coming up. I don’t know the exact day but it’s either this weekend or next week. … And I know Mychal Thompson and I were on L.A. radio the other day, he was part of that group as well. And Mychal’s like, staying in the hotel, team hotel, never leave the hotel. He’s like a homebody, doesn’t want to go anywhere. He wants to play with his grandson, wants to be home this offseason. And he goes ‘I wasn’t gonna go, I don’t need a vacation right now. I just want to stay home before the season started.’ And Pat Riley and Magic Johnson called him. It was like ‘What aren’t you going? Come on now.’ And T was like, ‘Oh God, my coach’s calling me. I can’t say no to Riles, right? And Magic called, you can’t say no to Magic, too.’ Everyone from that era is going on a big vacation together. And it’s like the real Showtime Lakers going on vacation. And apparently, there’s going to be a practice. Mychal says it’s gonna be a walkthrough. They’re just gonna, you know, get out there and pretend. But I don’t know if a 75-year-old Kareem is gonna get out there and do the Skyhook again or Magic, who’s older… But, you know, when Pat Riley is on the court and the Showtime Lakers are on the court, and they’re doing a walkthrough — like, they’re going to play right?”
The Showtime Lakers remained close even after their careers ended. During the 2021-22 campaign, many of Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s former teammates join the legendary center in celebrating his 75th birthday at halftime of a late-season victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Many of the Showtime Lakers also came to Jerry West’s defense when he complained against his portrayal in HBO’s “Winning Time.”
Abdul-Jabbar launches podcast about Showtime
Besides watching “Winning Time” or Hulu’s “Legacy: The True Story of the Lakers,” L.A. fans can hear stories from the Showtime era told by Abdul-Jabbar on his new “Skyhook” podcast.
Abdul-Jabbar launched the show in mid-August, saying he would invite many of his former teammates to “chat about their Showtime days.”
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