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Winning Time

I liked the first episode of Winning Time. And I say that as a lifelong Celtics fan! (I’ve been in L.A. for 25 years, but aside from the Dodgers have no affection for L.A. sports teams. The Dodgers had Jackie and Sandy, so they’re A-OK. And our kids have a schoolteacher who loves the Dodgers, and the kids love the teacher, so therefore, they love the team.)

My earliest basketball memories are watching the Celtics–Lakers, Bird–Magic rivalries in the 1980s. Then I didn’t watch basketball for maybe 20 years, and when I turned it on again, it was almost a different game (being played “above the rim”).

Great cast in this one. Love John C. Reilly.

Casting celebrity athletes has to have the highest degree of difficulty—even harder than casting biopics of movie stars (where it’s almost impossible to find somebody more charismatic than the original star). The actor has got to (1) resemble the person, (2) be able to act, and (3) be able to fake his/her way through the sport. But Quincy Isaiah pulls it off as Magic Johnson.

(Fun sidebar: remember the Deep Space Nine episode where the cast plays a holosuite baseball game against a Vulcan team? Apparently the only cast member who could actually play was Max Grodénchik—who had been a high school star. But his character, Rom the Ferengi, was supposed to be the worst player, so Max played left-handed.)

In Winning Time, I liked the mixed-media use of different video formats...and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was in part to cover up the fact that the actors for Magic and Kareem may be tall, but there’s no way they’re as tall as the actual Magic and Kareem.

Fun recreation of one of my all-time favorite scenes, complete with the real-life Zucker, Abrahams and Zucker in their directing chairs. The original:

In Winning Time, Kareem thereafter tells the actual kid to f– off...and I’d be shocked if that really happened. Although Kareem seems so surly, maybe I wouldn’t be shocked?

They’re lucky the Forum is still standing.

Showtime would have been a way better title (per the book), but obviously, HBO is not going to use that given its rival network.

I look forward to future episodes!

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