Winning Time in the Sky: An Ode to Lakers Basketball Culture

Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly, left) is happy for the signing of Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Quincy Isaiah). Photo: © 2022 Home Box Office, Inc. All rights reserved. HBO® and all related programs are the property of Home Box Office, Inc.

With “Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty”, a series on Sky starts on April 25, which should not be just a dunk slam for basketball fans.

Basketball has played a central role in cinema for decades. Whether as a drama in the form of “Game of Life” by Spike Lee (65), as a comedy à la “White boys do not bring” or thanks to the anti-family film “Space Jam”. But a series will soon be released that can encourage you to take the carefully hidden Air Jordans out of the closet: HBO production of “Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” will begin on April 25 with an episode double (20: 3 pm) and then every Monday at 9:15 pm with an episode on Sky Atlantic as well as via Sky Ticket and Sky Q on request.

With a resounding cast, among others, Oscar winner Adam McKay, 54, shows the rise of the Los Angeles Lakers – from the ugly, unsuccessful NBA ducks to the showtime kings of the spectacular 1980s Showtime era. And it’s also worth a look for those who do not like sports, who do not automatically replace Earvin Johnson (62)’s name with “Magic” and who do not 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 in the late 1970s. The title of the series was anything but reality for the LA Lakers at the time. The team had years of sailing unsuccessfully in the NBA. But that suddenly changes when businessman Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly, 56) uses all of his fortune to buy the team. Why are you doing this? “There are two things in the world that make me believe in God: sex and basketball!” Said Buss.

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 passages quickly gave him the nickname “Magic” Johnson, the Lakers have been lucky. Along with today’s Lakers legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes, 43) and coach Pat Riley (Adrien Brody, 49), Johnson established a style of play that went down in history as the “Showtime Express” and the stars and stars in the halls. of basketball lured.

A Long Way Behind “Winning Time”

What series creators and basketball players have in common: Consistency is required in both professions. Since 2014, screenwriter and co-creator Jim Hecht (46) approached sports journalist Jeff Pearlman (50) with the idea to write his best-selling non-fiction book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Dynasty Angeles The Lakers of the 1980s will be back in a series. His field: make “Winning Time” in basketball what was the hit series “Friday Night Lights” for football.

But only in 2019 did things start to move. HBO initially commissioned a pilot, led by McKay, and eventually a whole series. Castigu started in the same year and it has a lot to offer besides 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 a few.

Typical McKay fun in series form

“Succession” director Adam McKay has a unique talent for directing stories in a way that speaks to people outside the relevant cosmos. Who would have thought that the financial crisis of 2007 or the Vice President of George W. Bush (75) would provide the ground for real satire as fun as it is bitter? But McKay proved just that with “The Big Short” and “Vice: The Second Man” and even went even better with his fake news statement “Don’t Look Up”.

“Winning Time” also dares to look beyond sports and shows the privacy of athletes and the subculture that developed as a result of the Showtime era – all in a great view of the ’80s. For example, a 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 did not just take on roles in “Winning Time.” They are also played in it.


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

Leave a Comment