One of the most storied franchises in the history of sports is getting its own fictional (and decidedly comedic) series on HBO. Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is the long-anticipated show about [checks title] the rise of the Lakers Dynasty from the late 1970s into the 1980s. John C. Reilly stars as Jerry Buss, the owner of the Lakers during this period, and the all-star cast also includes Jason Clarke (as Jerry West), Sally Field (as Jessie Buss), Adrien Brody (as Pat Riley), and Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson.
The pilot episode was directed by Adam McKay, who also executive produced the series. You can watch the first trailer for the show below; it makes Winning Time look more like one of McKay’s earlier, over-the-top comedies than his more recent based-on-true-events satires:
This series is also supposedly one of the reasons for the breakup of the McKay and Will Ferrell partnership that produced Anchorman and Step Brothers and the Funny or Die website. In a recent interview, McKay claimed he’d originally given the Buss role to Ferrell, but then decided that Reilly was a better fit for the “hyperrealistic” tone he was going for, and so he recast the part without telling Ferrell. As he told the story, that was the final straw that ended their partnership and friendship.
Reilly does look wonderful in this trailer, but I’m not sure I would call anything in that clip “hyperrealistic.” Actually, I take that back: At one point in the trailer, they recreate a scene from Airplane!, which starred Laker Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. That looks hyperrealistic.
Anyway, here’s the series’ official synopsis:
A fast-break series chronicling the professional and personal lives of the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers, one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined an era, both on and off the court.
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty premieres on HBO and HBO Max in March 2022.