HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ Cancelled After Just Two Seasons
— 19 September 2023

HBO’s ‘Winning Time’ Cancelled After Just Two Seasons

— 19 September 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

After two brief but memorable seasons, the epic sports saga that is HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty has come to an extremely abrupt end.

What began as yet another slam dunk for the purveyors of premium entertainment (despite whatever “controversy” it attracted from its real-life subject matter) had somehow lost the public’s interest during its sophomore instalment — meandering with 629,000 total viewers across Max (formerly HBO Max) in comparison to the 1.6 million the season 1 finale had managed to amass.

It also didn’t help that the initial episodes of season 2 premiered with a whimper instead of the expected bang. But to the Max Borenstein-helmed drama’s credit (like Quincy Isaiah’s Magic Johnson himself during the latest episodes) it gradually found its feet, regained momentum, and shot for three.

RELATED: HBO’s ‘True Detective’ Season 4 Has Officially Been Delayed Until 2024

In the wake of last night’s surprise series finale, however, I suppose none of that now really matters. And with the premature conclusion of the Los Angeles Lakers’ storied run comes the extinction of our initial hopes for an eventual screen depiction of Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s legendary on-court partnership.

“Not the ending that we had in mind. But nothing but gratitude and love,” tweeted creator Max Borenstein.

Director Salli Richardson added via Instagram: “When you give it everything you’ve got, you can have no regrets. I hope you enjoy the last episode of @winningtimehbo, I am sure I will do many more hours of TV and hopefully many features in my future, but I can say that at this moment in time, I am most proud of the work we did on this masterful show.”

This very fate was foreshadowed by the earlier pleas of author Jeff Pearlman, whose book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s the HBO basketball series is based upon.

RELATED: The Snobbish Reason HBO Rejected ‘Yellowstone’

“I’m telling you — the future of Winning Time hangs in the balance,” tweeted Pearlman.

“We need viewers. The strikes are crippling. Please help spread the word. Season 2 is amazing. But… HBO is big on #s.”

“This saga is not complete and needs to continue. For the actors, the crew, the storyline. Plus, no f***ing way can a Lakers show end in 1984.”

Now, all we’re left with is an awkward, tonally jarring closer tacked on to tie everything up, ending on one of the Los Angeles Lakers’ most devastating losses (arguably the most devastating; which is oddly fitting considering the production’s context); as well as questions regarding what Winning Time could’ve been had it not been cancelled.

You can stream both seasons here in Australia via Binge.

Subscribe to B.H. Magazine

Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]


Share the article