Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is nearly finished with its second season on HBO and, at present, there are concerns about its future on the premium cable channel. The sports dramedy has been able to amass a solid following, but it’s been suggested that ratings haven’t been too strong this year. So fans and Jeff Perlman (who wrote the book on which the show is based) have been rallying around the show. As they implore more people to watch so that a third season will be ordered, Lakers owner Jeanie Buss is weighing in on the series. And surprisingly, she had some high praise to share.
Many of the people depicted on the show – including Jeanie Buss – have been somewhat tepid about the show up to this point. So it was somewhat surprising when she revealed on X (formerly known as Twitter) that she’d met up with Winning Time EP Rodney Barnes to discuss the show. She shared a photo from their meeting and added a (mostly) positive message about watching the second season. Check out the post for yourself:
I’m enjoying this season of Winning Time on @HBO reliving the Lakers Showtime era. Lakers fans tell me what you think of the show so far. There are some discrepancies but John C. Riley has nailed Dr. Buss @StreamOnMax #WinningTime https://t.co/bm8eWW2ri6September 8, 2023
Though Jeanie Buss hadn’t spoken out much about Winning Time up to this point, she had previously shared praise for lead actor John C. Reilly, who plays her dad – late owner Jerry Buss. Reilly recalled meeting Jeanie at a Lakers game, where she recounted a memory involving her father, who died at age 80 in 2013. Jeanie revealed to Reilly that her dad was an admirer of his work, specifically his performance in 2002’s Chicago. Her praise of Reilly aside, the exec also gushed about a promo HBO released to showcase the remainder of Season 2. Check out Jeanie’s post:
Nothing like playing @celtics to make the heart start pumping. Great promo - watch #WinningTime new episode Sunday on @HBO @SnoopDogg @Lakers (The basketball scenes are incredible!) 💜 https://t.co/RK1LEuW74iSeptember 9, 2023
Others associated with the storied professional sports franchise haven’t been nearly as complimentary. Basketball legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar didn’t hold back when sharing his displeasure, while former teammate Magic Johnson dropped a short and not-so-sweet message for the production. The organization’s ex-star and general manager Jerry West even took legal action against WT for its depiction of him.
While negative reactions have arrived on that front, Winning Time was mostly praised by critics upon its premiere, and Season 2 has arguably been even more well received. Fans seem taken with these new episodes, which (as Rodney Barnes told CinemaBlend) share similarities with Star Wars’ The Empire Strikes Back. The entertaining storytelling is surely why Jeff Perlman has been encouraging viewers to keep watching the program.
The show’s path forward may be uncertain, but it’s very impressive that it’s managed to garner some significant praise from one of the many people depicted. Time will tell whether Jeanie Buss’ seal of approval might convince general viewers – and even fellow Lakers alums – to tune in.