Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty seems to be making a major impression. Though only one episode has aired thus far, fans and critics are apparently intrigued by the basketball show’s story. Meanwhile, NBA greats like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have admitted that they’re not too keen on watching the small-screen dramatization of their “Showtime” days. Not every former player feels like the legendary duo, though. As a matter of fact, one former LA player actually served as a consultant on HBO’s Laker series, according to co-creator Jim Hecht.
The new show is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book, Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, so there was source material to draw from. But when it came to fleshing out the show, it seems more creative input was needed. Co-creator Jim Hecht explained, during our recent interview, that he sought an old friend to help carve out some of the finer points of the NBA experience. The person in question: three-time NBA champion Rick Fox:
If anyone would know the intense atmosphere that comes with being on a winning NBA team, it would be Rick Fox. Drafted in 1991 by the Boston Celtics, the Canada native signed with the rival Lakers after being released by the team in 1997. Fox would join a team that consisted of All-Star Shaquille O’Neal and rising phenom Kobe Bryant. The team’s culture would immediately shift when former Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson was hired in 1999. And from there, the organization would win three consecutive NBA championships.
The athlete and actor retired in 2004, though his memories of his playing career are still incredibly vivid. Jim Hecht went on to explain that the star was very hands on when it came to sharing his experiences for Winning Time. One of the ways he helped out was by participating in a number of complex discussions amid shooting:
Few would probably argue with those sentiments, especially when considering the authenticity that emanates from many of the scenes, especially those involving the players. Even scenes that take place outside the locker room – like Magic Johnson and Norm Nixon’s “tough” faceoff – feel somewhat grounded. It’s honestly pretty cool knowing that a basketball vet like Rick Fox had a hand in shaping the series’ atmosphere. Fans will surely be curious to see how else Fox impacted this interpretation of Jerry Buss and Magic Johnson’s quest for NBA supremacy as the series continues its run.
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty airs new episodes on Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on HBO, and they can be streamed afterwards with an HBO Max subscription. The series is only one of the many new shows premiering this year.
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