Actor Isaiah Quincy played Magic Johnson after winning the 1980 NBA Championship.
picture: Courtesy of HBO

in the last episode winning time, Season 1 quickly took away the spectacle and got straight to the point. The biggest conceit of the series is that as a series based on real life, it cannot stray from the truth. But for all creators Max Borenstein and Adam McKay who defended the series against the inaccurate portrayal allegations, the show is at its core a fictional depiction of real people, real teams, and real outcomes.

Episode 10 reminds us of this as it opens in a pivotal Game 5 of the 1980 Finals, with the Los Angeles Lakers and Philadelphia 76ers tied 2-2. Lakers captain Kareem Abdul-Jabbar suffered a second-half foot injury but returned to the game for a win in historic fashion. But that kept him out of the next 6 games. So the Lakers coaching staff should try something different.

Anyone with a little knowledge of the NBA knows what’s coming next. Magic Johnson made history by downgrading four positions to center, scoring 42 points and 15 rebounds as a rookie. It’s a positional move that Jerry West (Jason Clark) teased from the start, as a kind of learning curve that can kill the joy of rookie talent. But a magician is a magician, and he can make a lemonade franchise out of lemons. It’s also apparently a move predicted by former coach Jack McKinney (Tracy Letts), who offers it to former protégé and current Lakers coach (in the episode) Paul Westhead (Jason Seagal) er) as an olive branch of forgiveness. Magic also won the NBA Finals MVP and cemented his path as one of the top 10 players of all time and, for a certain age, the greatest Lakers player of all time.

you have it. Lakers owner Jerry Buss completed his self-made story, lifting his surname out of poverty and into the annals of history. The same is true of Magic, who went from a blue-collar background to Mount Rushmore in the NBA. The Lakers went from a laughing stock to a legacy team.

But Borenstein and company did not create winning time As an interesting wiki article. Instead, they wanted to show the trials and tribulations behind the scenes and put the Lakers’ rise in America’s economic and moral decline into context. winning time Not just a team’s path to glory; it’s also a retelling of the grand narrative of literature, a character turned good.

Unfortunately, where winning time Possibly the real offense, it failed. Claire Rothman (Gaby Hoffman) was never cast as a full character. We never saw her outside the forum. We kept her unaware of her life outside of Bath’s remit. So when Buss brings his daughter Jenny (Hadley Robinson), who will eventually help the Lakers get back to champions in 2020, just ask her opinion on which of her brothers should be given an empty board seat, Not only are we seeing how little Buss has really grown, but the mainstream media hasn’t grown much in terms of storytelling.

That’s not to say Winning Time should tell the story from the perspective of Sally Field’s Jessie (Jerry’s mom) or Jeanie. But it could have given both parties more screen time. Rothman, and also. We have books from all the major players, written by the stars themselves and others. But little is known about Jenny’s rise with the Lakers. winning time More can be shown to us from this vantage point, giving us a real peek behind the scenes. Instead, we got another batch of bad guys who tried to sabotage the good guys, failed, and tried again.

The series morphed into a quintessential TBS/TNT drama by tying up all the secondary storylines left by the pilot.Karim (Solomon Hughes) Pass Magic Torch. McKinney and Westhead reconcile. Karim learns to let go and let God. Bass went up against his rival Red Auerbach. Oh yes, a bizarre but perhaps true storyline involving Spencer Haywood (Wood Harris) hiring a drug addict to murder his former teammate has been resolved.

Notably, Heywood would quit drugs and turn his life around. Perhaps the best happy ending ever to portray a Lakers great. As Haywood, WoodHarris stole the entire series, delivering his best performance while telling one of the few stories that even the old man didn’t know too well.

Much of the episode is spent reliving the faithful Game 6, a history lesson for millennials who think the NBA started with LeBron James. The faux basketball depicted on screen is the best in the series, which doesn’t explain how much of the basketball scene is mixed in post-production. Most actors who play Lakers legends hardly ever played college ball, if at all.

It’s not a bad thing that this episode morphed into a Hoosiers/Air Bud-level championship performance. But the show has been trying to make nine episodes much more than tries to be a statement about c failingCapitalism, invisible blacks, and the ills of American society. But in the end, it decided to be a sleazy, feel-good entertainment.

For example, when the magician tells him the version of his mother, girlfriend and rival Larry Bird that exists in his mind to get out in his living room, it colors the scene and the plot with a sour taste. We know the Magic won multiple championships and got this girl. In fact, he got every girl. and more. When the imaginary scene fades away and the magician is left home alone, we still know less about the man who has been part of our pop culture consumption for 30 years now than we did before the series began.