“Winning Time,” the new HBO series on the 1980s Showtime Los Angeles Lakers is a hit with fans, but former Laker great Jerry West is ready to put the show in time-out.
“The series made us all look like cartoon characters,” West told the Los Angeles Times. “They belittled something good. If I have to, I will take this all the way to the Supreme Court.”
Based on Jeff Pearlman’s book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” the new HBO series portrays West as a hot-headed boozer who didn’t want to draft Magic Johnson.
Last week, West’s lawyer, Skip Miller, Miller Barondess, LLP, alleged that “Winning Time falsely and cruelly portrays Mr. West as an out-of-control, intoxicated rage-aholic,” with “no resemblance to the real man.”
“The portrayal of NBA icon and LA Lakers legend Jerry West in ‘Winning Time’ is fiction pretending to be fact — a deliberately false characterization that has caused great distress to Jerry and his family,” Miller’s statement read. “As an act of common decency, HBO and the producers owe Jerry a public apology and at the very least should retract their baseless and defamatory portrayal of him.”
West isn’t the only former Laker who has issues with the show, and he has received support from other players.
“Instead of exploring his issues with compassion as a way to better understand the man, they turn him into a Wile E. Coyote cartoon to be laughed at,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said in a statement. “He never broke golf clubs, he didn’t throw his trophy through the window.”
Still, HBO isn’t flinching and released its own statement.
” ‘Winning Time’ is not a documentary and has not been presented as such.”
“However, the series and its depictions are based on extensive factual research and reliable sourcing, and HBO stands resolutely behind our talented creators and cast who have brought a dramatization of this epic chapter in basketball history to the screen.”
“Winning Time” has already been renewed for a second season.