Home Basketball ‘Winning Time’: When the NBA Went Pop

‘Winning Time’: When the NBA Went Pop


The Lakers helped flip the N.B.A. from a fringe sports activities league right into a titan, which set the stage for Jordan and, later, Kobe Bryant to assist make the sport a world phenomenon. As McKay put it, the Lakers “changed fashion, music, the way people behaved, the way they spoke.”

“It’s an explosion that just rarely happens in any form of culture,” he continued, “let alone sports.”

Together with Chicken, Johnson grew to become a star in contrast to any basketball participant earlier than. He and Chicken appeared in TV commercials together and clocked large endorsement offers. When Johnson — a heterosexual athlete who was averaging 12.5 assists and 19.4 factors a sport — introduced in 1991 that he had H.I.V. and was retiring, it despatched shock waves around the globe. Pau Gasol, a local of Spain, mentioned he had been so impressed by Johnson’s information convention that he vowed as a boy to discover a treatment for H.I.V. As an alternative, he grew to become an N.B.A. All-Star, who helped lead the Lakers to multiple championships.

A number of the key figures within the story have mentioned publicly that they aren’t proud of the present, including Johnson. (Neither the central figures portrayed nor the Lakers group have been concerned within the manufacturing.) In an electronic mail, a spokeswoman for Abdul-Jabbar described the collection as “based on a fictional account taken from a book” written by “an outsider,” including that Abdul-Jabbar had not seen the present and that “the story is best told by those who lived it.”

Jeanie Buss, the controlling proprietor of the Lakers and the daughter of Jerry Buss, who died in 2013, is govt producing a documentary series concerning the franchise for Hulu, set to debut this 12 months. Johnson is growing one about his own life for Apple. (Spokespeople for Johnson and the Lakers declined to remark.)

“If I was Kareem to Magic or any of those guys, and I looked at it personally, like they’re telling my story, it would probably feel weird to me, too,” Rodney Barnes, an govt producer and author of the present, mentioned. However the inventive group wished to inform a narrative about all the pieces that interval encompassed, he added — about not solely the Lakers but additionally “America as a whole.”

And their story would hardly be the final tackle the Showtime Lakers, Barnes acknowledged.

“There’s still a lot of meat on that bone,” he mentioned.

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