HBO's new series "Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty" tells the real-life story of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team in the 1980s. That's when the franchise started a new era of dominant basketball, dubbed "Showtime" by their new owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. Earvin "Magic" Johnson joined the team at the end of 1979 for his rookie year, and he and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Lakers to the NBA championship that season. The team then went on dominate the league for the rest of the decade.
Under the leadership of Dr. Buss and head coach Paul Westhead, the team became a fun, exciting attraction that drew in celebrity fans and made home games an event. Between Magic on the court and the brand new Lakers Girls on the sidelines, the environment at games was transformed.
The new series features newcomer Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson, John C. Reilly as Dr. Jerry Buss, Solomon Hughes as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, Jason Segel as Paul Westhead, Tamera Tomakili as Earlitha Kelly (aka Magic's present-day wife, Cookie Johnson), and Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss.
Ahead of its March 6 premiere, the show has already been met with criticism. Magic Johnson said he wasn't looking forward to its premiere and was more excited for his own upcoming Apple TV+ documentary and Jeannie Buss's Netflix series about the Lakers. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar has also spoken out against it, saying that the real-life people portrayed should have been involved.
Keep reading to see all the actors side by side with the real life people they're portraying.