‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty’ Is a Magical Shot of ’80s Excess

Winning Time The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty HBO HBO

The ’80s was a rowdy, exciting time in Los Angeles, and Jerry Buss and his Los Angeles Lakers were at the center of it.

Kicking off in 1979 with the drafting of 19-year-old Michigan State point guard Earvin “Magic” Johnson, HBO’s wildly entertaining 10-episode drama series Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty (Sundays at 9pm ET/PT beginning March 6) explores the professional and personal lives of the Lakers as they become one of the most revered and dominant squads in basketball history.

Buss (John C. Reilly) is a new owner looking to make a splash while the NBA’s popularity and viability are waning. Johnson (newcomer Quincy Isaiah in an unforgettable role) is a wide-eyed teenager from Lansing, Michigan, taking in all L.A. has to offer under Buss’ tutelage.

Coaches, executives, players, other staff and family members are all part of the mix as a spotlight is shone on behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing, from Buss trying to buy the team and arguments over drafting Johnson to family squabbles and tension among players.

The performances are exceptional, and Winning Time effectively balances laughter with weightier moments as it covers racism, sexism, celebrity, ’80s excess and basketball.

Sally Field, Adrien Brody, Jason Clarke, Solomon Hughes, Jason Segel, Gaby Hoffmann, Julianne Nicholson, Rob Morgan and Tracy Letts costar. NBA superfan Adam McKay (Don’t Look Up, Step Brothers) is an executive producer and directed the first episode.