Magic Johnson admits he is 'not looking forward' to HBO Max's Winning Time about the 1980s LA Lakers 1

Magic Johnson admits he is ‘not looking forward’ to HBO Max’s Winning Time about the 1980s LA Lakers

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HBO Max’s upcoming limited drama series, Winning Time: The Rise Of The Lakers Dynasty, won’t be counting former NBA star Magic Johnson as a viewer.

Despite the hype, the basketball legend admitted to TMZ he is ‘not looking forward’ to the highly anticipated scripted re-telling of the Los Angeles Lakers 1980s hey-day.

Johnson, 62, expressed little interest in the show which will see him portrayed on-screen by acting newcomer Quincy Isaiah.

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No interest: Despite the hype, basketball legend Magic Johnson admitted to TMZ he is 'not looking forward' to HBO Max's upcoming scripted series, Winning Time, about the Los Angeles Lakers 1980s hey-day

No interest: Despite the hype, basketball legend Magic Johnson admitted to TMZ he is ‘not looking forward’ to HBO Max’s upcoming scripted series, Winning Time, about the Los Angeles Lakers 1980s hey-day

When asked about Winning Time, Johnson attempted to dismiss the question, telling a TMZ camera guy: ‘We got different shows coming out. I got one. Then, Jeanie Buss got one on Showtime coming out. Those are the ones [I’m] looking forward to, OK?’ 

Pressed a bit further he added, ‘Well, like I said, I’m not looking forward to it. I’m gonna leave it at that.’ 

The HBO Max series, which is based on the Jeff Pearlman book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, traces the evolution and triumphs of the NBA team throughout the decade.

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John C. Reilly, 56, stars as Jerry Buss, who bought the Los Angeles Lakers and their venue The Forum in 1979. Sally Field, Jason Segel and Adrien Brody also feature in the 10-episode series. 

When asked about Winning Time, Johnson attempted to dismiss the question, telling a TMZ camera guy: 'We got different shows coming out. I got one. Then, Jeanie Buss got one on Showtime coming out. Those are the ones [I'm] looking forward to, OK?'

When asked about Winning Time, Johnson attempted to dismiss the question, telling a TMZ camera guy: 'We got different shows coming out. I got one. Then, Jeanie Buss got one on Showtime coming out. Those are the ones [I'm] looking forward to, OK?'

When asked about Winning Time, Johnson attempted to dismiss the question, telling a TMZ camera guy: ‘We got different shows coming out. I got one. Then, Jeanie Buss got one on Showtime coming out. Those are the ones [I’m] looking forward to, OK?’

‘It’s gonna be exciting. From Adam McKay, director of ‘The Big Short’ and ‘Vice’ comes a story about the rise of basketball Hall Of Famer Magic Johnson (Quincy Isaiah) and the lengths one man (John C. Reilly) will go in pursuit of securing a basketball dynasty,’ reads the official log line of the series.

Johnson played 13 seasons with the Lakers as point guard and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time.   

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The basketball great’s likeness will feature heavily in the upcoming series and fans got their first glimpse of Quincy Isaiah as Magic Johnson in the first official trailer.  

Johnson’s 1979 entre into the NBA is seen in the teaser in a snippet where Isaiah accepts his new jersey at the draft announcement.

Immortalized on screen: Johnson, 62, expressed little interest in the show which will see him portrayed on-screen by acting newcomer Quincy Isaiah

Immortalized on screen: Johnson, 62, expressed little interest in the show which will see him portrayed on-screen by acting newcomer Quincy Isaiah

‘With me, it’s going to be exciting,’ he tells the gathered journalists as the video cuts to him going in for a dunk.

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Then there’s a montage to illustrate the new high life Johnson leads as a Laker.

He winks out the window as he’s driven through the desert in a speeding sports car, and Buss is seen ogling a group of women who appear to be trying out for the Laker Girls cheer squad, which he instituted shortly after taking over the team in 1979.

‘I don’t know why basketball can’t feel like that,’ Buss says to Johnson as the two take in a nightclub performance. ‘To me, Dr. Buss… it do,’ the point guard replies.

Iconic: Johnson played 13 seasons with the Lakers as point guard and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time

Iconic: Johnson played 13 seasons with the Lakers as point guard and is widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time

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Solomon Hughes gets little face time in the trailer, but he’s set to play Abdul-Jabbar, who will be incredible important to the team’s success throughout the decade.

Jason Clarke is featured briefly as former Lakers player, coach and eventual general

Winning Time is based on Jeff Pearlman’s book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s.

Adam McKay, who developed Winning Time, executive produces it and directs at least the pilot episode, previously spoke about how his casting of John C. Reilly to play Jerry Buss caused a rift between him and his longtime friend and collaborator Will Ferrell.

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What's to come: The HBO Max series, which is based on the Jeff Pearlman book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, traces the evolution and triumphs of the NBA team throughout the decade

What’s to come: The HBO Max series, which is based on the Jeff Pearlman book Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s, traces the evolution and triumphs of the NBA team throughout the decade

In an interview with Vanity Fair from late November, the director admitted that casting Reilly, who is also a friend and regular costar of Ferrell’s, led the two to end their producing partnership and caused the former SNL star to cut off communication between them.

‘I f***ed up on how I handled that,’ McKay said bluntly.

He ultimately opted for Reilly over Ferrell because he thought the Boogie Nights actor was a better fit to approximate Buss’ look and mannerisms.

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‘The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it’s hyperrealistic,’ he explained. ‘And Ferrell just doesn’t look like Jerry Buss, and he’s not that vibe of a Jerry Buss. And there were some people involved who were like, “We love Ferrell, he’s a genius, but we can’t see him doing it.”‘

Their time to shine: John C. Reilly, 56, stars as Jerry Buss, who bought the Los Angeles Lakers and their venue The Forum in 1979. Sally Field, Jason Segel and Adrien Brody also feature in the 10-episode series

Their time to shine: John C. Reilly, 56, stars as Jerry Buss, who bought the Los Angeles Lakers and their venue The Forum in 1979. Sally Field, Jason Segel and Adrien Brody also feature in the 10-episode series

McKay thought he might have made an already tense situation even worse by not calling his friend first to let him know he had been passed over for the Winning Time part.

However, he said that Reilly called Ferrell because ‘he’s a stand-up guy.’

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‘Maybe there was a little shadow in there where I wasn’t able to confront a harsher, darker side of myself, that would ultimately err on the side of making the right casting choice over a lifelong friendship,’ McKay mused.

The fallout from the cast decision led Ferrell and McKay to split dissolve their production company Gary Sanchez Productions. 

HBO hasn’t released an official premiere date for Winning Time, but the miniseries is expected to begin airing in March 2022.

When to watch? HBO hasn't released an official premiere date for Winning Time, but the miniseries is expected to begin airing in March 2022

When to watch? HBO hasn’t released an official premiere date for Winning Time, but the miniseries is expected to begin airing in March 2022

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