Apologies, Shakespeare, but it seems like the show must not go on.
HBO have cancelled ‘Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty’ after the 80s purple and gold biopic’s second season. One that was reduced to seven episodes and an abrupt conclusion, that you thought would have served as a cliffhanger primed for a three-peat.
After season one’s success, aside from the Lakers family matters. Season two split its viewership in half like Magic Johnson used to do a double-team. No matter how good lookalike Quincy Isaiah was at playing him. Body and soul.
Despite the fact that the real Jeanie Buss was warming up to the show. Exchanging messages with Rick Fox on X that ‘The Shawshank Redemption’ actor Tim Robbins would be perfect at playing Phil Jackson.
She had a point too.
Yet, there will be no Shaq and Kobe season. No King and AD. Not even a baby-hook at the Boston Garden. It’s all over like the time the Forum decided to put balloons in the rafters before a Game 7 of another NBA Finals the Lake Show lost to the Celtics.
You know Jerry West will be happy. The real Jerry West, who almost took ‘Winning Time’ and HBO to the supreme court. Not the amazing Aussie actor Jason Clarke, who plays him so perfectly.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar too. He wrote a thought-provoking article on his Substack account to discredit it. Never mind Magic Johnson, who came out with his own documentary on Apple TV. Right before Hulu’s ‘Legacy’ series that was dubbed ‘The True Story Of The LA Lakers’.
Even with the social media campaign by ‘Showtime’ author (the book this is based on) Jeff Pearlman to keep this season’s lights on, ‘Winning Time’ has come at a loss. And it’s all ours too.
Whether it be John C. Reilly’s legendary take on Dr. Jerry Buss. Or a slicked back Adrien Brody stealing the show this season as a perfect Pat Riley. Winning us all over with his locker room speech that riled everyone up.
Not to mention star turns from Jason Segel as Paul Westhead and DeVaughn Nixon playing his pops Norm. Which feels like something out of the Ice Cube, O’Shea Jackson ‘Straight Outta Compton’ play-book for an actor who started his career as a child in ‘Terminator 2: Judgement Day’.
Max Borenstein and Jim Hecht’s series based on ‘Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s’ may find another arena to call home. ‘The Big Short’ director Adam McKay and many an executive producer are all behind it on the bench.
Writers strikes certainly had an effect on ‘Winning Time’s’ L too, but it’s more than about time to pay them what they’re worth. A glut of basketball movies, documentaries and TV shows that have come out since ‘The Last Dance’ could also be a culprit. Soon, even the hardest of hoop heads might be looking at all this full court press like the superhero fatigue of Marvel movies.
This is the rise and fall of the Lakers like so many other stories in Hollywood. But even La La Lakerland knows, not all dynasties stay dead.
Do you still believe in Magic?