Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty looks at the Los Angeles Lakers in the 1980s, including portraying NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, who is one of the main characters of the HBO series. With the series chronicling his time as a member of all five championship teams, Abdul-Jabbar recently shared his thoughts on Winning Time in his latest blog post, admitting he was not a big fan of the series.
"There is only one immutable sin in writing: Don't Be Boring! Winning Time commits that sin over and over," Abdul-Jabbar wrote as he called out executive producer Adam McKay. "I'll start with the bland characterization. The characters are crude stick-figure representations that resemble real people the way Lego Hans Solo resembles Harrison Ford. Each character is reduced to a single bold trait as if the writers were afraid anything more complex would tax the viewers' comprehension. Jerry Buss is Egomaniac Entrepreneur, Jerry West is Crazed Coach, Magic Johnson is Sexual Simpleton, I'm Pompous P—. They are caricatures, not characters. Amusement park portraits that emphasize one physical feature to amplify your appearance—but never touching the essence."
Abdul-Jabbar went on to talk about the portrayal of him in the series and had an issue with one scene. "I've battled leukemia, heart surgery, cancer, fire, and racism—a negative portrayal of me on a TV show has no effect on me personally," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "But it does affect others. For example, I never said "F—k off" to the child actor (Ross Harris) in Airplane!, nor have I ever said that to any child. I realize this was a shorthand way of showing my perceived aloofness during that time, even though I have often spoken about my intense, almost debilitating shyness. Sometimes the attention in public became so overwhelming I shut down to protect my sanity. The filmmakers had access to that information, but truth and insight were not on their agenda. Shocking moments were."
Solomon Hughes plays Abdul-Jabbar in Wining Time. This is his first acting role and played college basketball at Cal from 1998 to 2002. Since then, Hughes, 43 has been a lecturer at Stanford and a visiting instructor at Duke, according to Sports Illustrated. He received his undergraduate and Masters degrees at Cal and his PhD. at the University of Georiga.