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HBO Fires Back on Jerry's demands....(2 articles)

April 26, 2022 01:50PM
i've always admired Jerry West since I was a kid. West is one of the few great players that transitioned from being a great player to a very good coach and a great executive.. Not many great players have made that transition....

but as great as he's been at the executive level..... there's got to be a reason why the Lakers, Warrriors, and Memphis didn't renew his contract as an executive..... maybe they ran out of glue to repair all the trophies that he's thrown out the window....

HBO Fires Back After Jerry West Demands ‘Winning Time’ Retraction: ‘It’s Not a Documentary’

URL = [variety.com]

HBO is firing back against criticisms of its Lakers drama series “Winning Time.” The show has come under fire by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Jerry West, two Lakers veterans who are prominently featured as characters in the HBO series. Both men have taken issue with how “Winning Time” portrays Lakers coach West, played by Jason Clarke in the show. The real West has demanded a legal retraction from HBO over what he views as “a deliberately false characterization” and a “baseless portrayal.”

“HBO has a long history of producing compelling content drawn from actual facts and events that are fictionalized in part for dramatic purposes,” the network said in a statement. “‘Winning Time’ is not a documentary and has not been presented as such. However, the series and its depictions are based on extensive factual research and reliable sourcing, and HBO stands resolutely behind our talented creators and cast who have brought a dramatization of this epic chapter in basketball history to the screen.”

West’s legal team sent a letter on April 19 to “Winning Time” executive producer Adam McKay, HBO and Warner Bros.-Discovery stating that the series has “caused great distress to Jerry and his family.” The latter added: “You took a happy and super successful Lakers era and turned it into a pulpy soap opera. You depicted the people in a false light, not at all who they are, to garner ratings and make money.”

The letter also included testimony from individuals who worked alongside West at the time, including words from Claire Rothman (played by Gaby Hoffman on the show) and Abdul-Jabbar (played by Solomon Hughes). The latter published a blog post on April 19 slamming “Winning Time” as boring, shallow and “deliberately dishonest.” Abdul-Jabbar wrote “it was a shame” how the show treated West.

“[Jerry] has openly discussed his struggle with mental health, especially depression,” Abdul-Jabbar writes. “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.”

“Winning Time” is currently in the middle of airing its first season. The show has been renewed for a second season.


Winning Time’: Author Jeff Pearlman Talks Series Backlash, Meeting Adam McKay and Who Should Play Phil Jackson

One week ago, NBA legend and Los Angeles Lakers icon Jerry West employed his legal representation to send a letter to HBO, Warner Bros. Discovery and Adam McKay demanding a legal retraction for his portrayal on HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.” The correspondence included testimony by former members of the Lakers organization, including retired ballplayer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, to reinforce its argument of the show creating “a deliberately false characterization.” Weeks before, Earvin “Magic” Johnson himself voiced his criticism of the series to Variety, saying “You can’t do a story about the Lakers without the Lakers… the real Lakers.”

Author Jeff Pearlman, whose book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s” has been adapted to the HBO series, gets where they’re coming from.

“I don’t get mad when people are talking about that. Obviously, people have a right,” Pearlman tells Variety. “Some guy is writing a book. You don’t know him. ‘OK, well, how much are you going to pay me?’ I’m not going to pay you. ‘Well, what about editorial control?’ No, you have no editorial control. ‘Well, can I read my quotes before?’ Actually, you can’t. I get why people don’t talk to us. It always rubs my motor a little bit. I’m going to call every other teammate and every ball boy and every Laker girl, and I’m going to record the hell out of this… It makes sense that they have weird feelings about it. I harbor no grudge or ill will or anything”

In a conversation with Variety, Pearlman discusses his extensive research while writing “Showtime,” the thrill of seeing anecdotes he uncovered being adapted to the screen and taking a meeting with series executive producer and pilot director Adam McKay.

Since you write about sports at large, do you still root for any teams in particular?

I’m one of those guys who covered sports for such a long time that I stopped rooting for anybody. So I grew up a diehard New York Jets fan, diehard New Jersey Nets fan, diehard Mets fan. Now I root for good games.

It’s liberating, isn’t it?

When I was rooting for teams, I’d have the ups and downs and the misery and blah blah. And most of my life was watching really @#$%& sports. I actually find myself a much happier human being not having a vested interest.

I get it, I’m a Sacramento Kings fan.

That’s amazing. That’s like being a Jets fan except in basketball. Well, you don’t have to worry about the Kings being in the playoffs. So that’s actually a good way to go.

When I asked Jason Segel, who plays coach Paul Westhead on “Winning Time,” about the 2021-2022 Lakers season, he said it was much more about power dynamics than it was about basketball. Does that phrase connect with you as a sports writer?

I think most sports writers who write books will tell you that the thing that interests them the least is what happens on the court. It doesn’t hold up in a book, it holds up in a newspaper the next day. You’re always looking for quirky characters, people who maybe wouldn’t be thought of that much. Obviously there’s Magic Johnson and Kareem, but I liked Mark Landsberger [played by Austin Aaron on “Winning Time”]. I like the idea that you throw 15 people together and they all have to get along in this little tiny world — a little tiny room, a little tiny plane, a relatively small court.

You also wrote “Three Ring Circus,” which documents the years when the Lakers were helmed by Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Phil Jackson. Since that period was more recent, were people less open to discussing the material with you?

The more recent you are, you still have an edge to the stories. Getting fired from a job isn’t funny. It’s a little more funny five years after it happened. It’s a lot more funny 20 years after it happened, you can totally laugh about it. It’s the same with sports.

Especially with regards to “Three Ring Circus,” which was released shortly after the death of Kobe Bryant. I imagine something like that radically shifts the way people want to talk about things.

I was very nervous about that book coming out. I didn’t want people to think I was just capitalizing on Kobe’s death — just another guy coming out with a get-rich-quick scheme on the back of a real tragedy. I’d worked on that book for years before he died. It ended up OK, but I was very nervous about that.

Was there immediate interest about adapting “Showtime” to the screen?

[Series co-creator] Jim Hecht somehow got a hold of me. He grew up loving the Lakers and thought it could be a great TV series. I didn’t know what to make of it, so I did a Google search and found his big credit was “Ice Age: The Meltdown.” So I was like, “Who knows?” going into it. He wound up coming to our house on Easter Sunday. I’m Jewish and he’s Jewish, and maybe that’s why it was no big deal. He came off as very sincere. I ended up giving him the option rights to the book for free. You really should never do that. I didn’t know what I was doing. But I never expected anything.

Did you even think about it after?

I thought about when he called me every now and then to give me some update. I thought it was @#$%&. In 2019, Hecht said “Adam McKay wants to meet.” And I didn’t know who that was; I’m like a moron. I Googled it and I go to his house — he’s lying there, and he likes the book. I still don’t think anything’s going to happen. I get a contract with HBO. And I still don’t really think anything’s going to happen. They pay a little bit of money. I have no faith whatsoever. And then I’m home one day, and a friend of mine from college emailed me a link to an article saying John C. Reilly agreed to star in an HBO series.

Is there a specific anecdote that you uncovered while researching the book that you are proud made it to “Winning Time”?

This is going to sound small and insignificant, but, for me, it was awesome. Magic and his dad go to the Forum and are served sand dab, which is a super weird fish. That came straight from the book. Another thing that really satisfies me is the story of Jack McKinney (portrayed by Tracy Letts on the series). I got pretty close to the McKinney family. Nobody knew who he was. He was like a little footnote of a footnote of a footnote in Laker history. It was very satisfying to me that I wrote this book and I learned all about him. And now there’s a TV show with Jack McKinney.

Picture the world years from now. We’re in Season 20-something of “Winning Time,” exploring the Shaq and Kobe days. Who is playing Phil Jackson?

What’s-that-guy’s-name would be good. He’s too old now though, but the guy from the “We are Farmers” commercials.

J.K. Simmons.

He’s not bad. I would probably try to pull Brad Pitt. That’d be amazing. They optioned the book and people always get excited over things way prematurely. A lot has to happen. If the show ended right now, I just had the luckiest run in my life. It’s all gravy for me.

  HBO ...Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

JoeMad273March 25, 2022 07:31AM

  Re: HBO ...Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty

ramBRO115March 27, 2022 07:38AM

  Jerry West Demands Retraction Of His "Cruel" Portrayal In 'Winning Time'

ramBRO126April 19, 2022 06:20PM

  they make him look pretty bad

ferragamo7982April 20, 2022 04:27AM

  I REALLY miss the old NBA. Used to love the Lakers.

Ramgator93March 27, 2022 11:25AM

  Re: I REALLY miss the old NBA. Used to love the Lakers.

canadaram49May 11, 2022 06:08PM

  watched all 5: Outstanding!

ferragamo7991April 07, 2022 07:05AM

  ...the start of Lakers' Showtime seemed to be a very fragile organization.

JoeMad129April 11, 2022 09:41AM

  Buss essentially changed the NBA

ferragamo7977April 12, 2022 04:46PM

  Just finished the first two episodes

waterfield132April 11, 2022 10:10AM

  Keep watching T...it gets better

ferragamo7999April 12, 2022 04:46PM

  Hey Vince, Lakers win in Six!!!

JoeMad185May 11, 2022 10:21AM

  West wants retraction as to portrayal of him

waterfield111April 21, 2022 07:28AM

  More complaints on series

waterfield102April 24, 2022 07:54AM

  HBO Fires Back on Jerry's demands....(2 articles)

JoeMad107April 26, 2022 01:50PM


waterfield75April 27, 2022 08:06AM

  Norm Nixon.... portrayed in series... by his son....

JoeMad99April 27, 2022 02:18PM