‘Winning Time’ captures the energy of the NBA soap opera – The Daily Eastern News


How much creative freedom is too much? According to the creators of the HBO series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty,” the answer seems to be that there can never be too many.

So far, the show has followed the Los Angeles Lakers through the 1979-80 NBA season, the iconic Magic Johnson’s rookie year and the first year the legendary Jerry Buss was the franchise owner. . Obviously, it’s based on real events and most of the characters are real people, with Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Jerry West, Jeanie Buss and Pat Riley also featuring heavily.

Although heavily based on reality, the show is almost entirely fictional. This angered those portrayed on the show, primarily West, who recently said he wanted to take the matter to the Supreme Court, which may have been a bit of an overreaction.

West is 83 and wildly successful. The man is the NBA logo for god’s sake. If I were him, I would probably focus my energy elsewhere.

But it evokes an interesting conversation. When you create something based on real people, many of whom are still alive, how far can you go?

The show contains a disclaimer that the events shown are fictional, which is more than enough for me. “Winning Time” is hugely entertaining, and as a work of fiction, I thoroughly enjoy it.

I don’t believe any of the character portrayals should be taken at face value. Each seems to contain elements of truth, but only an incredibly naive viewer would watch this show and think they’re watching real people.

“Winning Time” is not a documentary, and it is irresponsible to treat it as such. It’s one of the most engaging sports TV shows I’ve seen, full of solid performances and thrilling basketball scenes, although the focus is definitely on what happened in the behind the scenes and off the field.

Some of the real people portrayed on the show have said it turns the real events surrounding the Lakers into a cheap soap opera. Hell yeah, it does. I would be disappointed if it wasn’t a cheap opera. What sport is better suited for a soap opera than basketball?

The NBA is so unnecessarily dramatic every day. Just scroll through Kevin Durant’s Twitter feed for proof. Last season, Nets guard Kyrie Irving chose to miss nearly every home game rather than get a COVID shot. Ben Simmons refused to play for the 76ers and was traded to the Nets for James Harden, who no longer wanted to play in Brooklyn. Then Simmons was injured and didn’t play a game for the Nets.

In fact, “Winning Time” may be quite accurate after all.

Adam Tumino is a sports media relations specialist. He can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]


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