It’s a Showtime-era summer.
Hulu docuseries “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers” debuts after HBO Max’s controversial “Winning Time” portrait of the famed Los Angeles Lakers’ Showtime era cemented by All-Star players Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. “Legacy” continues to capture the remarkable rise and unprecedented success of one of the most dominant and iconic franchises in professional sports, from real estate mogul Jerry Buss purchasing the team to players Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal, and LeBron James leaving their marks on the iconic NBA franchise.
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The 10-part docu-series directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) includes exclusive interviews with the Buss family, courtesy of current owner Jeanie Buss. Starting with the Showtime era in 1979, “Legacy” includes Buss’ decision to open a private club inside the arena and introduce a live band and the Laker Girls dancers at games. Over the last 40 years, the Lakers have won 11 titles and retired the jerseys of the NBA’s most legendary players. The Lakers empire is estimated to now be worth more than $5 billion, or, as Mark Cuban says in the trailer, it’s become a “real-life ‘Succession.'”
“I don’t think my dad intended to build a kingdom,” Jeanie Buss states. “But that’s what he did.”
From sibling rivalries within the Buss family to a romance with coach Phil Jackson and corporate unrest from the NBA execs, “Legacy” charts the enduring power of the Lakers.
Adam McKay’s “Winning Time” came under fire from the NBA and former players. The league stated that they are “not supporting” the series and HBO previously confirmed that NBA league lawyers have reached out to the network regarding the use of official NBA logos and trademarks.
Jeff Pearlman, who wrote the book on which “Winning Time” is based, weighed in on the controversy by retweeting “Empire” and “Dopesick” creator Danny Strong’s tweet, which read, “The NBA/Lakers need to re-think their ‘Winning Time’ strategy. Attacking it makes them look petty and unable to take a joke. Everyone LOVES the show because it’s fantastic, thus the huge ratings. Negative character moments are filled with affection, humor and love for the Lakers.”
Pearlman commented, “I one million percent agree.”
Former coach and general manager Jerry West also confirmed he is willing to take legal action against the series.
HBO issued a public response, reading, “HBO has a long history of producing compelling content drawn from actual facts and events that are fictionalized in part for dramatic purposes. ‘Winning Time’ is not a documentary and has not been presented as such.”
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