HBO’s drama “Winning Time” about the 1980s Los Angeles Lakers may be going over well with critics and fans, but it’s had the opposite reaction among former players and executives.
Jerry West, who served as a Lakers scout and then general manager beginning in 1982-1983, apparently is quite displeased with his portrayal in the show.
West had his legal team send a letter to Adam McKay, the producer of the show, seeking a retraction, apology and damages.
The letter alleges that the show “falsely and cruelly portrays Mr. West as an out-of-control, intoxicated rage-aholic,” who “bears no resemblance to the real man,” according to ESPN.
The letter sent to McKay includes statements from numerous former Lakers players and employees, including Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Michael Cooper and Jamaal Wilkes.
Abdul-Jabbar sent a statement of support for West. He alleged that West was turned into a cartoon character by the show.
“He never broke golf clubs, he didn’t throw his trophy through the window. Sure, those actions make dramatic moments, but they reek of facile exploitation of the man rather than exploration of character,” Abdul-Jabbar wrote.
West’s attorneys feel the “drama” disclaimer surrounding the show is insufficient. They also feel “the show goes out of its way to denigrate Jerry West despite his accomplishments as an executive.”
West was a longtime player and executive for the Lakers, helping them to win a championship as a player and six as an executive. However, there seems to be some recent issues between him and the team, as evidenced by Jeanie Buss’ list. His portrayal in the show is the latest issue he has had that has to deal with the franchise.
In addition to West, Magic Johnson has expressed displeasure with HBO’s show.
“Winning Time” debuted on HBO this year and is in its first season, with seven episodes airing already.