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Last night, HBO treated its viewers to a bizarre surprise. Turns out, Sunday night's season finale of Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty was the series finale. Mere moments after the episode wrapped, HBO announced the cancellation of the sports drama, which is based on the Showtime-era Lakers. "Not the ending that we had in mind," co-creator Max Borenstein shared on social media. "But nothing but gratitude and love."
Even stranger? The show abruptly ended as it explored one of the Lakers worst losses in the history of the franchise. In the series finale, we see Larry Bird and the Boston Celtics hand Magic Johnson and the Lakers a crushing defeat in the 1984 NBA Finals—which turns out to be a rude awakening for a Lakers squad that struggled with off-court issues all season. Seemingly forced to wrap up the series, Winning Time reportedly added a scene that was originally not intended to air during the finale. It shows an emotional moment between Lakers owner Jerry Buss (John C. Reilly) and his daughter, Jeanie (Hadley Robinson). "You know, it’s going to be alright, kid," Buss says as they sit on center court at the Forum. "And you know how I know? Because we fucking own this."
Of course, many hoops fans finish the series knowing that Jeanie Buss is currently the President of the Los Angeles Lakers. Nor do the Lakers end their story at the 1984 NBA Finals. In fact, Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Pat Riley, and the Showtime Lakers return with a vengeance to destroy the Celtics and win the following year. "This saga is not complete and needs to continue,” Showtime author Jeff Pearlman wrote on social media this month when news of poor ratings first threatened a cancellation. "For the actors, the crew, the storyline. Plus, no fucking way can a Lakers show end in 1984."
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