HBO’s “Winning Time” Cast and Their Real-Life Counterparts


HBO’s “Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty” is back for season two this summer. The series tells the real-life story of the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team in the 1980s. That’s when the franchise started a new era of dominant basketball, dubbed “Showtime” by their new owner, Dr. Jerry Buss. Earvin “Magic” Johnson joined the team at the end of 1979 for his rookie year, and he and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar led the Lakers to the NBA championship that season. The team then went on to dominate the league for the rest of the decade.

Under the leadership of Buss and head coach Paul Westhead, the team became a fun, exciting attraction that drew in celebrity fans and made home games an event. Between Magic on the court and the brand-new Laker Girls on the sidelines, the environment at games was transformed.

The series features Quincy Isaiah as Magic, John C. Reilly as Buss, Solomon Hughes as Abdul-Jabbar, Jason Clarke as Jerry West, Adrien Brody as Pat Riley, Jason Segel as Westhead, Tamera Tomakili as Earlitha Kelly (aka Johnson’s present-day wife, Cookie Johnson), and Hadley Robinson as Jeanie Buss. Season two takes place between 1980 and 1984.

Even before its premiere last year, the show was met with criticism for stretching the truth from many of the real people depicted, especially Magic. Last March, he released his own documentary, “They Call Me Magic,” and Hulu released “Legacy: The True Story of the LA Lakers” docuseries.

Keep reading to see all the actors side by side with the real-life people they’re portraying.

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