For the past several weeks, sports fans and casual viewers alike have been enthralled by HBO’s Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty. The series has received mostly positive reviews, with many lauding the work of the ensemble cast. The show’s Magic Johnson actor, Quincy Isaiah, has received a considerable amount of praise for his turn by him as the NBA legend. However, the actual Johnson isn’t a big fan of the dramedy series, and Isaiah is now addressing the former Laker’s criticisms of the show.
Initially, Earvin “Magic” Johnson had few words for the HBO series, only saying that he wasn’t looking forward to it. He later expanded on those thoughts and asserted that the Winning Time producers “can’t duplicate Showtime.” This, of course, refers to the highly successful era of Lakers basketball that Johnson helped lead alongside stars like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (who’s also been critical of the project). With this, the former point guard has been adamant about not wanting to check the show.
Quincy Isaiah recently caught up with TMZ, during which he was asked about the hall of famer’s critiques. The up-and-coming performer (and former ball player) was reasonable in his assessment of him. While he defended his show’s take on the iconic sports team’s heyday, he also empathized with the five-time NBA champion’s perspective:
Winning Time chronicles the ups and downs of the Los Angeles Lakers at the onset of the ’80s, during which new owner Jerry Buss seeks to return the team to basketball dominance. Magic Johnson is a major part of the ambitious (and somewhat reckless) entrepreneur’s plans. Though Johnson is depicted as a talented, intelligent and relatively friendly person, the show also shows him wrestling with his immaturity and womanizing ways di lui.
While speaking with the news outlet, Quincy Isaiah went on to stress the fact that the program is merely a dramatization of real events. He also showed reverence to the basketball great he portrays on screen:
It’s tough to say if his words will sway Magic Johnson to change his mind and check out the show. Regardless, you have to appreciate the sheer level of respect that Quincy Isaiah has for one of the NBA’s most notable icons.
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty airs new episodes Sundays at 9 pm ET, which can later be streamed by those with HBO Max subscriptions. Those looking for more Laker-related content can check out Magic Johnson’s Last Dance-inspired docuseries, They Call Me Magicwhich you can stream with an Apple TV + subscription starting April 22.