Why HBO's Lakers Show Will Be Like 'The Crown'

HBO announced an upcoming series chronicling the 1980s "Showtime" era for the Los Angeles Lakers, bringing the iconic careers of players like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson to television. Jason Clarke, Sally Field, John C. Reilly, Adrian Brody, and Michael Chiklis are set to star alongside a fresh cast of unknowns as the famous players. Adam McKay (Succession) is set to executive produce and direct the series, and Godzilla Vs. Kong screenwriter Max Borenstein penned the scripts. In a recent interview with Collider, Borenstein opened up about a surprising comparison for the show. While he couldn't offer many details on the as-yet-untitled series because it is still in early development — it is expected to air in 2022 — Borenstein explained that the series would have a "dynastic" feel similar to Netflix's The Crown.

"It's a series, but obviously, its limitations are that it's inspired and based on a true story, but in a sense, structurally, it has [a] resemblance to The Crown," Borenstein explained. "It's a dynasty story. It's the story of an American dynasty. In this case, because it's an American dynasty, it's not a monarchy, it's a story about celebrity and culture and entertainment as [seen] through the prism of the NBA and the prism of the Showtime Lakers. So our ambition is to tell that story in the time that it takes to tell it well."

Borenstein played coy about the show's structure, explaining that it won't necessarily be a year-by-year breakdown of the team's history. "There's not a hard and fast rule on that," Borenstein said. "We're trying to tell what we see as being a story of this dynasty that really is transformational in the culture at a really important moment that, I think, is an important story to tell, and a really fun story to tell. We're going to give it its due in terms of how long it takes to tell it."

The series was delayed due to the pandemic, giving Borenstein more time to write. Borenstein sees this as a silver lining that ultimately improved the show. "We've been so fortunate, [because] it's a project we've been working on [for a while]," he explained. We made a pilot before the pandemic that Adam McKay directed that was a highlight of my life, creatively, to be able to work with him and this incredible team. It came out really well and everyone at HBO has been so supportive, based on people's responses to the pilot. This last pandemic year has really been all about writing these scripts, and people have been responding to that. We're really fortunate with the cast. It's a dream. It's insane."