Season 1 of the Winning Time series about the Showtime Lakers is in the books. Please allow me to explain, better than before, why rewriting the history of #thisleague is so damaging
Please tell me they at least got the halftime score of Game 6 right: 60-60. They didn't make up game scores, did they? Honestly, they need a much more vivid statement on how loosely based on reality the show is because you're right, for millions of people, this will become the story. Did Bird really win Rookie of the Year 60-3? Who knows? Nothing on that show can be trusted.
As someone who came of age in the 90s the age of MJ, I appreciate the reporting on the Lakers show. Haven't seen it but if I do now I have some insight.
I only watched the pilot episode so far. I'm torn about watching the rest. It really bothers me how they did such a hatchet job on Jerry West. Yet, prominent writers like you and Bob Ryan who have been very critical of it, still watch it? What gives? Aren't you feeding the beast you detest?
PS - You and Bob Ryan are the two most high-profile writers I have heard speak poorly of the show, most other people are from within the Lakers bubble/org.
Does Jeff Pearlman himself publicly standing by the show affect your assessment at all? He has been very supportive. (I don't really like the show, honestly. The 79-80 team is more interesting than fiction.) Also, as a Laker fan, I have to point out that Larry Bird did in fact have poor choice in company off the court. Dan Shaughnessy's recent book chronicled the bar fight that Larry got into (in 1985, I think?) and the acquaintance(s) that helped put Larry in the situation, that he then lied about. Also, is the mailbag ever coming?
The show was intended to capture an audience beyond Lakers fandom. They weren't going to accomplish this by keeping things historically accurate.
I watched every episode. The West portrayal was sickening. Did Spencer Haywood seriously consider putting out a hit on the team? Or confront KAJ with a gun? I seriously doubt it. I did enjoy Reilly’s swagger as Dr Buss and thought his portrayal was decent. But considering former Laker Rick Fox was a consultant on the series, he dropped the ball.
If Winning Time gets so much wrong, don't watch it anymore. You are only aiding and abetting HBO if you do.
I stopped watching the series about halfway through episode three. I don’t think the show shows any love for basketball—for the intricacies of the game. Instead, it’s primarily a celebration of outlandish capitalism. Even movies like Wall Street and Boiler Room serve two purposes: They’re about the sins of capitalism and they’re love songs to the intricacies of Wall Street. I embrace the dichotomies and complexities of art. But Winning Time, the show, doesn’t present us with any complexity on or off the court. It’s a cartoon.