HBO’s new show, Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty hasn’t been a hit with previous Los Angeles Lakers players, like Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
In fact, Magic shared his unaltered opinion in a new interview with Variety. “You can’t do a story about the Lakers without the Lakers,” he said. “The real Lakers. You gotta have the guys.”
TMZ caught up with the actor who plays Magic, Quincy Isaiah, who said that the show isn’t meant to be an affront to the former NBA star. “I mean, I understand where they coming from because it’s a story about their lives,” Isaiah said. “So, it’s tough. But I really feel like we did a really good job of showing humans and showing a full version of who we at least perceive them to be.” He continued, “There’s no malice behind it.”
Winning Time portrays the Lakers’ professional and personal lives in the 1980s. During those years, the team won five championships and nine NBA Finals.
Back in December, Magic also told TMZ, “Hmm, no. I’m not looking forward to it. I’ll leave it at that,” regarding the HBO show.
Isaiah also pointed out that the show is meant to be entertaining. “At the beginning and end of every episode, it says ‘this is a dramatization,’” Isaiah said. “We take real facts that happen, and we make it good for TV.”
Still, he has unending gratitude for Magic, explaining to TMZ that he wouldn’t be here if Magic hadn’t led an “incredible life.”
“Magic, man, I love you dude,” Isaiah said. “You literally lived an incredible life so that I could—I’m getting into an Escalade because he lived an incredible life. I have nothing but love and respect for that man,” Isaiah said. He doesn’t think there’s any beef between him and Magic, saying that Magic “understands I’m an actor.”
Magic is releasing his own documentary, They Call Me Magic on April 22 via Apple TV+—and Isaiah said that everyone should tune in to both the doc and the HBO series.