“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 pleased with the signing of Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Quincy Isaiah).

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

Basketball has played a central role in cinema for decades. Whether it’s as 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 can encourage you to dig the carefully hidden Air Jordans out of the closet: the HBO production “Winning Time: Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” starts on April 25 with a double episode (20 : 15.00) and then every Monday at 21.15 with a section on Sky Atlantic as well as via Sky Ticket and Sky Q on demand.

With a sonorous cast, among others, Oscar winner Adam McKay (54) tells the Los Angeles Lakers’ progress – from the ugly because failed NBA duck to the kings of the 80s spectacular Showtime era. And it’s worth seeing even for those who dislike sports, who do not automatically replace Earvin Johnson’s (62) first 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 in “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 been floating around without success in the NBA for years. But that changes abruptly as businessman Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly, 56) spends all his fortune buying the team. Why is he 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 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 “Showtime Express” and stars and stars in the basketball hall lured.

There is a long way to go 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”. The Angeles Lakers dynasty in the 1980s “turns into a series. His pitch: turns” Winning Time “into basketball, what the hit series” Friday Night Lights “was for football.

But it was not until 2019 that things started to move. HBO first commissioned a pilot, directed by McKay, and finally an entire series. The casting started the same year and it 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, just to name 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 the respective cosmos. Who would have thought that the financial crisis of 2007 or the Vice President under George W. Bush (75) would provide fertile ground for true satires that are as entertaining as they are bitter? But McKay proved exactly that with “The Big Short” and “Vice: The Second Man” and went even better with his fake news release “Don’t Look Up”.

“Winning Time” also dares to look beyond the sport and shows the athletes’ privacy 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 avid 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’re a fan of Adam McKay-style entertainment as well as basketball or even the Lakers, “Winning Time” is a slam dunk. The fact that HBO has just extended the first season of ten episodes with another proves that the series also has something for everyone else. At least the second quarter is already at hand.


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