For this week’s Barrett Sports Media column, I wrote about HBO’s Los Angeles Lakers series, Winning Time, and the controversy it’s generated for how several real-life figures are portrayed.
I’m really enjoying the series for depicting the early-1980s era of the NBA and the insight it provides into the sport. But the show is also ruthless in making virtually everyone in the story look bad. The portrayal of legendary player, coach, and executive Jerry West has been particularly surprising, and he’s spoken out publicly against it.
Hall of Famer Magic Johnson doesn’t come off looking good, either.
The series makes a point of demonstrating that dropping a 20-year-old basketball sensation and savior of a franchise into a den of temptation would inevitably lead to trouble. The story begins by showing us the eventual results of Johnson’s promiscuous ways. But the way Johnson treats the many women in his life and those who can help him make money and become a celebrity is hardly flattering.