Los Angeles Lakers great Magic Johnson has given his thoughts on HBO’s recent cancellation of its drama series “Winning Time.” Johnson expressed that the Showtime-era Lakers story depicted in the show was simply untellable.
Lakers Legend Magic Johnson Says Showtime Story Was Untellable
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter , Johnson said neither he nor former teammates like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar watched the show. Johnson stated “nobody in this world can tell the Lakers story” from that era, noting how far ahead of his time late Lakers owner Dr. Jerry Buss was.
While Johnson was initially involved in developing the series, he eventually backed out after just one day of pitching meetings. A co-creator of the show recalled Johnson citing monetary issues. This aligned with Johnson’s criticism that the series took fictional liberties depicting real people and events.
Johnson praised elements of the actual Showtime Lakers like Buss’ visionary ownership and the contributions of the Laker Girls and Paula Abdul. However, he maintained the true story defied accurate portrayal. Based on these comments, Johnson seems satisfied with HBO’s decision to cancel the series after two seasons.
Other Lakers icons like Jerry West also slammed the show’s portrayal of them. West demanded a retraction from the show over its “baseless” depiction of him. These criticisms from those who actually experienced the Showtime era first-hand suggest the series struggled with authenticity.
While TV dramas often take artistic licenses, retelling a story as monumental as the Lakers dynasties may have been overly ambitious. According to Johnson, the Showtime Lakers achieved things that cannot be properly captured or conveyed to viewers.
HBO seems to have agreed, pulling the plug after two seasons. For Johnson and others central to the story, their objection suggests some tales are simply too remarkable to be recreated within the limitations of a scripted series. The untellable may remain untold.