Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, HBO premiered the sports drama Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty in March 2022. The series features a dramatization of the personal and professional lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers team.
Following the release of the first season, it was renewed for a second season, which premiered on the network in August. However, it was canceled soon after the second-season finale aired, and it will not be renewed for another season at HBO.
Winning Time Canceled After Two Seasons At HBO
The sports drama Winning Time aired its second season finale last weekend, which was followed by a surprise for its audience when news of the show’s cancelation came soon after. However, things did not seem in the show’s favor earlier as well, as the author of Showtime, Jeff Pearlman, took to X (Twitter) last month, talking about how the ongoing writers’ and actors’ strike is affecting the show.
“We need viewers. The strikes are crippling. Please help spread the word. Season 2 is amazing,” he said. The author also shared his concern about the series not getting a season 3, saying, “I’m worried there won’t be a season three.”
And his fear seems to have come true as the network didn’t even wait long to cancel it after the season finale. Winning Time Co-creator Max Borenstein reacted to the news and said that it was “not the ending we had in mind. But nothing but gratitude and love.”
The director of the series, Salli Richardson, also took to Instagram to talk about the cancellation. She said that she hoped that the audience enjoyed the series before further stating that she is proud of the work she did on the HBO sports drama. However, it has faced criticism from the former Lakers players, along with the former Lakers coach Jerry West, portrayed by Jason Clarke in the series.
Winning Time Faced Criticism From Former Lakers Players
Winning Time, which is described as a dramatization of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, has been the subject of criticism due to several things. While the first season of the show did not feature a basketball match until its fourth episode, season 2 quickly wrapped up the four years of the team’s story.
Former Lakers, including Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, have been heavily critical of the show. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar described the series as “dishonest” and “drearily dull.” He said that the series has “bland characterization” and that it “replaced solid facts with flimsy cardboard fictions that don’t go deeper and offer no revealing insights.”
Magic Johnson has also said that there is no way to “duplicate Showtime,” stating that a story of the Lakers cannot be done without the Lakers. Former basketball player and Lakers coach sent a legal letter to the studio and makers of Winning Time regarding his “false and defamatory portrayal” in the series. He claimed that the series portrays him to be an “out of control, intoxicated rage alcoholic.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has also described West’s character as a “crazed coach.” In its defense, HBO has said that Winning Time is not a documentary and doesn’t claim to be one, either. However, they have stated that the characters’ depictions are based on “extensive factual research and reliable sourcing” to bring a “dramatization of this epic chapter in basketball history to the screen.”
Winning Time is streaming on HBO Max.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter