Basketball fans have been enjoying ‘Winning Time,’ the HBO series that dramatizes the rise of the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Magic Johnson, and other stars of the “Showtime” Lakers are fictionally depicted in the series. One of those former Lakers greats is not impressed with how the team is portrayed.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar often shares his opinions on his SubStack blog. Abdul-Jabbar won five championships with the Lakers in the 80s. While he doesn’t have a problem with how the show covers things from a historical perspective, Kareem thinks the characters are just boring and lacking in depth.
“There is only one immutable sin in writing: Don’t Be Boring! Winning Time commits that sin over and over. I’ll start with the bland characterization. The characters are crude stick-figure representations that resemble real people, the way Lego Han Solo resembles Harrison Ford. Each character is reduced to a single bold trait, as if the writers were afraid anything more complex would tax the viewers’ comprehension.
It’s a shame the way they treat Jerry West, who has openly discussed his struggle with mental health, especially depression. 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. He never broke golf clubs, he didn’t throw his trophy through the window. Sure, those actions make dramatic moments, but they reek of facile exploitation of the man rather than exploration of character.”
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar said he has no problem with how he is personally portrayed on the show. He does think it may hurt his Skyhook Foundation charity. Kareem was depicted as telling a child actor to, “f*ck off” during the filming of the hit comedy, Airplane!
Kareem said that never happens. The NBA legend believes the only victims of the inaccurate portrayal are those who benefit from his charitable work. Outside of that, he finds the show lacking in substance and interesting portrayals of the characters as human beings.
What do you think of this story? Share your thoughts in the comments!