In December of 2019, before the resurgence of NBA-related hype instigated by The Last Dance, HBO ordered a drama series about the “Showtime Era” Los Angeles Lakers witnessed during the 1980s, with Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and legendary coach Pat Riley at the centre. Fast forward to present day and it seems to be finally coming together, complete with an all-star cast of Hollywood’s finest and stylish first trailer.
Based on Jeff Pearlman’s non-fiction book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, the project – now dubbed Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty – was has been described by Indiewire as something which will chronicle “the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties – a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.”
In the role of Pat Riley is none other than Academy Award-winning Adrien Brody, who you will be familiar with from such films as The Thin Red Line, The Pianist, The Grand Budapest Hotel, and more relevantly to fans of BH, as Luca Changretta – arch enemy to Cillian Murphy’s Thomas Shelby – during the fourth season of BBC’s Peaky Blinders.
John C. Reilly is yet another key player for this one, portraying the Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss. Not-so-fun-fact: Reilly’s casting was recently revealed to be the catalyst behind series director Adam McKay (The Big Short, Vice, Succession) and Will Ferrell’s professional split – after decades of collaborating together, starting from their SNL days to Step Brothers and beyond. Ferrell had, of course, initially expressed a desire to portray Jerry Buss.
Newcomer Quincy Isaiah takes on the role of famed point guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson, alongside fellow dramatic freshman Solomon Hughes as the equally-renowned centre, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. It’s worth noting that both Isaiah and Hughes were among the first to be cast two years ago.
Other confirmed names include the following:
- Jason Clarke (Zero Dark Thirty) as 14-time NBA All-Star Jerry West
- Molly Gordon (Animal Kingdom) as Linda Zafrani
- Tamera Tomakili (Fruitvale Station) as Magic’s longtime spouse Earletha “Cookie” Kelly
- DeVaughn Nixon (The Bodyguard) as point guard Norm Nixon (fun fact: DeVaughn is Norm’s real-life son)
- Rob Morgan (Just Mercy) as Magic’s father Earvin Johnson Sr.
- Spencer Garrett (Public Enemies) as announcer Chick Hearn
- Kirk Bovill (Vice) as former Lakers owner Donald Sterling
- Delante Desouza as shooting guard Michael Cooper
- Stephen Adly Guirgis as Frank Mariani
- Joey Brooks as Lon Rosen
HBO has tapped Max Borenstein (Kong: Skull Island, The Minority Report) to write and executive produce the forthcoming Los Angeles Lakers drama series. Adam McKay, on the other hand, has directed the pilot – and will also executive produce via Hyperobject Industries with Kevin Messick and Jason Shuman.
HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is scheduled to arrive sometime in March of 2022 – check out the first teaser trailer above.