“Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”: A series festival for all basketball disciples?

“Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”
A series festival for all basketball disciples?

Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly, left) is happy about the signing of Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Quincy Isaiah).

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With “Winning Time” a series starts on April 25th on Sky, which should not only be a slam dunk for basketball fans.

Basketball has played a central role in cinema for decades. Whether as a drama in the form of Spike Lee’s (65) “Game of Life”, as a comedy à la “White Boys Don’t Bring It” or thanks to the anti-family film “Space Jam”. But soon a series will also be released that could encourage you to dig the carefully stowed away Air Jordans out of the closet: The HBO production “Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” will start on April 25 with a double episode (20: 3 p.m.) and then every Monday at 9.15 p.m. with an episode on Sky Atlantic as well as via Sky Ticket and Sky Q on demand.

With a sonorous cast, among other things, Oscar winner Adam McKay (54) tells the rise of the Los Angeles Lakers – from the ugly, because unsuccessful NBA duckling to the kings of the spectacular Showtime era of the 80s. And that’s worth a look even for those who don’t like sports, who don’t automatically replace Earvin Johnson’s (62) first name with “Magic” and who don’t even say a quiet “MVP” with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (75).

The two most beautiful things in life? sex and basketball

The action of “Winning Time” begins at the end of the 1970s. The title of the series was anything but reality for the LA Lakers at that point. The team had been bobbing around unsuccessfully in the NBA for years. But that changes abruptly when businessman Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly, 56) uses his entire fortune to buy the team. Why is he doing this? “There are two things in the world that make me believe in God: sex and basketball!” Buss said.

But Buss could only have imagined in his wildest dreams how quickly his plan to lead the Lakers to new fame would succeed. With the draft of young Earvin Johnson (Quincy Isaiah, 26), whose brilliant passes quickly earned him the nickname “Magic” Johnson, the Lakers have made a stroke of luck. Together with today’s Lakers legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes, 43) and coach Pat Riley (Adrien Brody, 49), Johnson founded a style of play that went down in history as the “Showtime Express” and stars and starlets in the basketball hall lured.

A long way lies behind “Winning Time”

What series creators and basketball players have in common: Endurance is required in both professions. As early as 2014, screenwriter and co-creator Jim Hecht (46) approached sports journalist Jeff Pearlman (50) with the idea of ​​writing his best-selling non-fiction book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s ” to turn into a series. His pitch: make “Winning Time” to basketball what the hit series “Friday Night Lights” was to football.

But it wasn’t until 2019 that things started to move. HBO first ordered a pilot, directed by McKay, and eventually an entire series. The casting started in the same year and that has a lot to offer in addition to the stars already mentioned. Jason Clarke (52), Jason Segel (42), Gaby Hoffmann (40), Tracy Letts (56) and Sally Field (75) are also on board, to name just a few.

Typical McKay entertainment in serial form

“Succession” director Adam McKay has a unique talent for directing stories in a way that speaks to people outside of the respective cosmos. Who would have thought that the financial crisis of 2007 or the vice president under George W. Bush (75) would provide breeding grounds for real satires that were as entertaining as they were bitter? But McKay proved exactly that with “The Big Short” and “Vice: The Second Man” and even went one better with his fake news statement “Don’t Look Up”.

“Winning Time” also dares to look beyond the sport and shows the private lives of the athletes and the subculture that developed as a result of the Showtime era – all in a wonderful 80s look. For example, a certain Jack Nicholson (84) will appear in the series. The world star has always been an ardent Lakers fan and is portrayed in the series by Max E. Williams. Hollywood stars didn’t just take on roles in “Winning Time”. They are also played in it.


If you’re a fan of Adam McKay-style entertainment as well as basketball or even the Lakers, “Winning Time” is a slam dunk. But the fact that HBO broadcast the ten-episode first season proves that the series also has something for everyone else has just extended by a second. At least the second quarter is already in the towel.


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