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‘Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty’ explores one of sports’ most revered and dominant franchises


HBO/Warrick Page

It’s time to go back to the 1980s with Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty.

The HBO series stars John C. Reilly as Dr. Jerry Buss, the real estate mogul who bought the flailing NBA team and made them the brand they are today. Reilly tells ABC Audio he was “honored” to play Buss, whom he calls “an incredible American story of success.”

Adds Reilly, “It’s impressive enough to buy a team [and] in the first year you buy them, win the championship. But if you know all the behind the scenes, everything he was going through, it makes it all the more impressive.”

The early 80s may not seem so long ago to some, but Reilly says the series shows that culturally it was a completely different era.

“You gotta love the swagger that those guys had, to have a cocktail bar in the conference room, in the middle of a meeting,” he notes. “It just seems like, man, they got away with a lot of fun stuff.”

The HBO series also stars newcomer Quincy Isaiah as a young Earvin “Magic” Johnson, just before he enters the NBA.  Isaiah says it was a lot of fun to play Magic at that point in his career.

“He’s…trying to, you know, just figure out who he is and grow up and become an adult and see how he fits in this new world that he’s been thrust into,” Isaiah explains, “And we get to see him and meet him as he grows into the icon that we know, that’s Magic Johnson today.”

Winning Time debuts Sunday on HBO and will be available to stream on HBO Max.

(Trailer contains uncensored profanity.)

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