Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Blasts HBO Series ‘Winning Time’ On 1980s Lakers

NBA Hall-of-Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has been utterly unimpressed with Winning Time, the HBO series on the Showtime Lakers of the 1980s, he suggested in his Substack email newsletter.Winning Time HBO Lakers

“There is only one immutable sin in writing: Don’t Be Boring! Winning Time commits that sin over and over,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

He added that the series is bogged down by “laziness and shallow writing,” as well as “bland characterization.”

“The characters are crude stick-figure representations that resemble real people the way Lego Hans Solo resembles Harrison Ford,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote. “Each character is reduced to a single bold trait as if the writers were afraid anything more complex would tax the viewers’ comprehension. Jerry Buss is Egomaniac Entrepreneur, Jerry West is Crazed Coach, Magic Johnson is Sexual Simpleton, I’m Pompous Prick.”

No matter, Winning Time has been picked up for a second season. 

The series stars John C. Reilly as Buss, Quincy Isaiah as Johnson and Hadley Robinson as current owner Jeannie Buss. It has received some criticism around the NBA for its harsh portrayal of West, played by Jason Clarke. Abdul-Jabbar is played by Solomon Hughes.

The series is based on Jeff Pearlman’s excellent book entitled, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s. So far, the series has focused solely on the 1979-80 season.

“One major difference here is that most the people being portrayed are still alive, still have a legacy that is important to them. I may have made up words and actions for Queen Victoria, but I didn’t denigrate her,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

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