HBO’s new TV series, “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” lives up to the expectations when it comes to evoking a wide array of emotions — just as the Los Angeles Lakers did during the famous “Showtime” era.
“Winning Time” premiered on March 6, telling the story of “Showtime” over 10 episodes. The series is based on Jeff Pearlman’s 2014 book that documented the rise of one of the most storied dynasties in NBA history. However, HBO’s show inevitably ended up being a dramatic re-enaction of how the 1980s Lakers teams came to life.
The series has received plenty of positive reviews, but some of the “Showtime” Lakers’ key figures didn’t seem thrilled to see it come out. Magic Johnson said “Winning Time” wasn’t the show he “wasn’t looking forward to,” adding there are other TV productions he was excited about instead — including Apple TV’s “They Call Me Magic,” which had the Lakers legend involved in the production process.
What’s more, the NBA said HBO didn’t seek permission for the use of the league and team trademarks, per The Athletic’s Bill Shea:
“Clearances to use NBA trademarks were not sought or granted and the league objects to any unauthorized use of its intellectual property,” said Mike Bass, the league’s chief communications officer, and an executive vice president, in an emailed statement.
The Lakers offered a more neutral take on the issue:
“The Lakers have no comment as we are not supporting nor involved with this project.”
Even though the NBA and the Lakers could potentially sue HBO over the network’s use of the trademarked intellectual property for commercial use, that appears to be an unlikely scenario. One, the league has a big-money broadcast deal with HBO’s sister company, TNT.
And two, that could potentially lead to uncomfortable questions over some of the actions of the people involved in the NBA during the 1980s — as “Winning Time” brings some of the era’s debauchery into the spotlight.
Season 2 of “Winning Time” could focus on Kobe Bryant & Shaquille O’Neal’s era
Even though the first season of “Winning Time” will run through May 8, the show’s writers are believed to be already planning for what comes next for the series.
Among potential ideas for the second season, the creators reportedly consider exploring the ins and outs of the early 2000s Lakers’ success, led by Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal — taking inspiration from another of Pearlman’s books, “Three-Ring Circus: Kobe, Shaq, Phil, and the Crazy Years of the Lakers Dynasty.”
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