Listener Blog Submission
The first three episodes of Winning Time on HBO are an absolute Slam Dunk!
The perfect combination of sex, comedy, mafia violence, and a behind the scenes look at the building of the 1980s Lakers dynasty, gives viewers one of the best sports television shows of all time.
John C. Reilly’s portrayal of Jerry Buss by itself makes the show worth watching. I am not averse in the inner workings of the Jerry Buss persona, but the way Reilly portrays him is hilarious and seems accurate.
Buss comes off as a bold outside the box owner and general manager, but at the same time a funny and entertaining guy. Red Auerbach seems blown away and shocked at the confidence of the Lakers new owner when we see their first meeting, and the beginning of the Celtics vs Lakers rivalry.
We have not seen Larry Bird yet, but we get some mentions of him leading to some intrigue and anticipation of how he will be portrayed.
Viewers also get a fun look at Jerry’s way with women. This part is not for the eyes of children. There are also some Magic Johnson and Jerry West scenes not meant for children’s eyes.
The behind the scenes look at how the Lakers were built has numerous fascinating aspects and the show’s first three episodes dive into a few of the most intriguing ones.
Magic Johnson’s story between his final year at Michigan State and the beginning of his rookie season is more fascinating than I realized.
He legit contemplated returning to Michigan State for his junior year. If Jerry West stayed on as Lakers coach for Magic’s rookie year, he was going to have Magic play power forward. Magic got destroyed in a one-on-one pick-up game by Norm Nixon (the point guard he sent to the bench) at a party. The Nixon one-on-one game may have been made up for the show, but it was entertaining none the less.
We also get a fascinating look at the beginning stages of Magic Johnson enjoying the Hollywood lifestyle, while missing part of what he left behind in Michigan.
The third episode gave us a look strange, but entertaining look at the beginning of the Pat Riley story with the Lakers. His struggle to find a basketball job after his playing days takes a few interesting turns, most notably a bloody nose during a pick-up game and a destructive incident with some work around the house.
New to me in the third episode was the Lakers pursuit of a high-profile college basketball coach that did not come to fruition because of some mafia violence. Name and school omitted for sake of not providing a spoiler.
If you have HBO or HBO Max and have not watched Winning Time yet set an appointment and get started yesterday. If you don’t have HBO or HBO Max borrow a password or sign-up just to binge “Winning Time” I promise you will not be disappointed!
-John May (become a Zone-Head yourself on Facebook)