‘Winning Time’ Trailer: John C. Reilly Builds an Underdog Empire in Adam McKay’s HBO Lakers Drama

The star-studded HBO series, directed and executive-produced by McKay, chronicles the "showtime" era of the 1980s LA Lakers.
John C. Reilly and Quincy Isaiah in "Winning Time" lakers
John C. Reilly and Quincy Isaiah in "Winning Time"
Warrick Page / HBO

It’s about to be the Magic hour.

Adam McKay’s new HBO series “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” details the transformation of the Los Angeles Lakers under former owner Jerry Buss, played by John C. Reilly.

Based on the book “Showtime: Magic, Kareem, Riley, and the Los Angeles Lakers Dynasty of the 1980s,” the series follows the personal and professional lives of NBA legends Earvin “Magic” Johnson (Quincy Isaiah) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Solomon Hughes).

Both billed as newcomers, Isaiah and Hughes immediately wow in the trailer for the origin story set in the 1980s.

Sean Patrick Small stars as Celtics standout Larry Bird, Jason Clarke is Jerry West, Michael Chiklis plays executive Red Auerbach, Spencer Garrett is legendary Lakers broadcaster Chick Hearn, Delante Desouza stars as Michael Cooper, Olli Haaskivi portrays Nike co-founder Phil Knightand, and Kirk Bovill is former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

The ensemble cast also includes Gaby Hoffmann, Jason Segel, Adrien Brody, Tamera Tomakili, Julianne Nicholson, Tracy Letts, and Rob Morgan. Sally Field stars as Jerry Buss’ wife, Jessie Buss, and Hadley Robinson is daughter and protége, Jeanie Buss.

The official logline of the 10-episode series says it will center on “one of sports’ most revered and dominant dynasties — a team that defined its era, both on and off the court.”

The HBO series was previously titled “Showtime” for the Lakers’ “showtime era” during which the team won five championships. McKay serves as director and executive producer of the series, with Max Borenstein and Rodney Barnes writing. Jim Hecht, Jason Shuman, and Kevin Messick from McKay’s production company also serve as executive producers alongside Scott Stephens and co-EP Rodney Barnes.

The NBA adaptation famously led to McKay’s production company Gary Sanchez splitting with co-founder Will Ferrell. McKay told Vanity Fair that the last straw was his decision to cast Reilly over Ferrell in “Winning Time.”

“The truth is, the way the show was always going to be done, it’s hyperrealistic,” McKay said. “And Ferrell just doesn’t look like Jerry Buss, and he’s not that vibe of a Jerry Buss. And there were some people involved who were like, ‘We love Ferrell, he’s a genius, but we can’t see him doing it.’ It was a bit of a hard discussion.”

“Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” premieres Sunday, March 6 at 9 p.m. on HBO. The series will be available to stream on HBO Max.

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