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HBO's Winning Time Has Been Criticized By Magic Johnson And More, But A Lakers Owner Confirmed One Scene That's Legit

Quincy Isaiah on Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
(Image credit: HBO)

The first season of HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is officially in the books. The Adam McKay-produced sports dramedy drew some major buzz, even scoring solid reviews from critics and high marks from general audiences. The show, however, wasn’t too well received by Laker alums like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who questioned its accuracy. Amid the backlash though, Jeanie Buss, who’s currently the controlling owner of the NBA team, has confirmed that at least one scene from the series is legit. 

Though she hasn’t been as publicly critical of Winning Time as some of her colleagues have been, Jeanie Buss doesn’t appear to be a fan of the show. She made this clear in a recent Twitter post, in which she also hyped up the upcoming Lakers docuseries (which will be streamable with a Hulu subscription). But in the same post, she also confirmed that a key scene involving Magic Johnson and the late Jerry Buss did indeed occur: 

It’s clear my thoughts on this show. To see the real story watch the Lakers docuseries coming to @hulu later this year. Meanwhile, someone sent me this clip and asked if it was accurate - it is. When a star player and owner align winning happens.

The scene in question takes place early in the series and effectively solidifies the relationship between the iconic point guard and late businessman. It’s a pivotal moment, and it’s great that the NBA owner can appreciate it herself. You can check out the clip for yourself in the post down below:

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This isn’t the first time that Jeanie Buss has been civil when it comes to someone or something connected to the HBO production. Jerry Buss actor John C. Reilly previously recalled a sweet encounter that he had with her while taking in a Laker game. Apparently, Buss approached the star and told him that her late father once praised his acting abilities. You honestly couldn’t script a moment that's so genuinely sweet.

What’s been far from sweet, however, is the way in which the sports franchise’s other alums have reacted to Winning Time. Magic Johnson made it clear that he wouldn’t check it out, as he doubted that it would be able to replicate Showtime. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar also shared his thoughts and chastised the show for its depictions of the real-life people involved. Former player, coach and general manager Jerry West was so displeased with how he was portrayed that he recruited lawyers to ask for a retraction. 

The reactions haven’t been all negative, though. Co-creator Max Borenstein revealed that the show has received support from the family of late Lakers coach Jack McKinney. Former player Spencer Haywood has also expressed satisfaction with how Wood Harris has portrayed him. Borestein’ fellow creator, Jim Hecht, also confirmed to CinemaBlend that NBA vet Rick Fox was also a consultant on the series.

It doesn’t look like Jeanie Buss or her colleagues will change their tune on the show anytime soon, though. Still, I, for one, am curious as to whether they’ll continue to chime in now and then when it returns for its second season at some point.

In the meantime, you can check out the first season of Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty by streaming it with an HBO Max subscription.

Erik Swann
Erik Swann

Covering superheroes, sci-fi, comedy, and almost anything else in film and TV. I eat more pizza than the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.