Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty is a detailed (and over-the-top) account of how the historic NBA franchise established itself as a consistent championship-winning club. The series specifically sheds light on the “Showtime” era of the 1980s, which saw Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and more shine while on the court. While the show has exclusively tackled the ‘80s Laker teams up to this point, one can’t help but think about the possibility of the dramedy reaching Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal’s generation. It’s too early to say if the series will get the chance to cover that material, but that fact isn’t stopping the producers from sharing thoughts on the possibility.
Kevin Messick and Salli Richardson-Whitfield are once again on board as executive producers for the second season of Winning Time. Luckily for me, I was able to speak to them on behalf of CinemaBlend before the new episodes drop. When we chatted, I couldn’t help but ask about the future of their show and how long they believe it can run. Messick provided a reasonable response, revealing that he and his collaborators don’t have a specific number of seasons in mind. Nevertheless, it definitely doesn’t sound like he’s opposed to covering the Kobe/Shaq drama at some point:
There are indeed plenty of stories that can be told about the NBA team through the lens of the HBO series. It’s also true that author Jeff Perlman, whose work has been adapted for the program, covered a lot of subject matter. Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant’s time as teammates – which occurred from the mid-’90s to early 2000s – would be particularly entertaining. While they played well together and won three championship titles, the dynamic duo had their share of issues. Basketball greats like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar have explained how their feud caused the team to become “dysfunctional” at the time. Even Shaq himself confirmed that he’d push Bryant’s buttons on occasion. However, that was mainly to motivate his younger teammate so that he was at his best when game day arrived.
Salli Richardson-Whitfield, who also serves as director for the series, is also excited by the prospect of covering other notable Lakers as Winning Time pushes on. However, based on the sentiments she shared during our virtual junket interview, she has a soft spot for the Kobe/Shaq era. She gushed about potentially getting to tell theirs and other LA stars’ stories:
One can only hope that the cast and crew do indeed get to reach that span of time on the show. When Shaquille O’Neal shared thoughts on Winning Time, even he admitted that it’d be “interesting” if the show covered his and the Black Mamba’s exploits. Such a season is still a long way off, though, as the producers mentioned. Still, if the fans keep tuning in, it could very well become a reality.
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty returns to HBO for its second season on Sunday, August 6 at 9 p.m. ET as part of the 2023 TV schedule. Episodes will subsequently be available for Max subscription holders to stream.